Blockchain has been one of the most widely discussed technologies in recent years following its debut more than a decade ago in the form of Bitcoin — a transparent, decentralised system for peer-to-peer electronic cash. Today, its revolutionary applications and pragmatic solutions are showing strong signs of transforming every industry, be it banking, real estate, law, education, healthcare or even the agri-food sector. For many enterprise organisations, the significant advantages of using blockchain are the evolution of new business models and value chains, greater security and lower risks, and greater speed compared to existing traditional systems, as revealed by Deloitte’s 2019 Global Blockchain Survey.
Although the application of blockchain in agriculture is still in its nascent stage, it holds immense promise as a foundational technology that redefines business models and transactions at all levels of the agroecosystem. The potential for blockchain in agriculture has been endlessly discussed and debated, and some of the use-cases of this technology include:
Blockchain indeed presents a novel approach to storing, managing and transmitting data worldwide. While the advantages of applications include accuracy, efficiency, reliability, traceability, transparency, incorruptibility, scalability, security, and data decentralisation, the applications become null and void without quality data in the first place.
In all of the above-mentioned and numerous other use-cases, blockchain directly or indirectly depends on big data collected through one or more technology solutions. The better the quality of data that can be made available, the more reliable and efficient blockchain will be. This, beyond question, makes data the one true king in today’s world. But, where do you get quality data from particularly in the agri-food sector, given that the existing infrastructure is still inadequate and there are significant issues around interoperability of data?
Blockchain-based systems are not stand-alone and require predefined elements known as oracles to serve as trusted third-party sources of information. Software solutions (such as big-data applications) and hardware solutions (satellites, drones, or IoT devices) are two of the different kinds of oracles that facilitate the blockchain to access data from outside of their network. Undeniably, setting up and implementing a complete system designed around blockchain, along with the supporting oracles, requires considerable human and economic resources — a privilege that large enterprise and corporate organisations enjoy. So how does blockchain really benefit the 500 million smallholder farmers around the world, a majority of whom have poor or no access to mobile technology?
Source Credits: George Levy – What is a blockchain oracle?
CropIn, a pioneer and a global provider of agri-tech solutions, reimagines the world of agriculture with data. CropIn’s award-winning farm data management solution “SmartFarm” helps to capture accurate ground-truth from farmlands big and small, combining it with weather- and satellite-based intelligence and translating it into actionable insights. These insights, collected at all stages of the cultivation cycle, facilitate agri-focussed organisations to monitor farms in real-time and effectively drive their initiatives around predictability, traceability, sustainability, and compliance. The potpourri of data captured at each stage of the cultivation cycle empowers producers and other key stakeholders to arrive at solutions for problems specific to a certain point along the agri supply chain.
In order to reach out to as many smallholder farmers as possible in a cost-effective manner, CropIn’s platform makes effective use of mobile technology to connect with even the most remotely-located farmers in rural regions. The platform has successfully on-boarded close to 2.1 million farmers around the globe, and continues to advance towards its ambitious goal of impacting 20 million farmers by 2022. CropIn is set to accomplish this by collaborating with agribusinesses, government entities, and with development aid agencies that engage with millions of farmers in numerous countries.
With this approach to farm digitisation, farmers can contribute to the ground-level data collection from the source of the agri value chain without having to take the economic burden of buying, implementing and maintaining a digital system. CropIn provides the precise technological framework that ensures effective gathering of critical data points and helps make sense of an ever-expanding data pool that is available in the agroecosystem.
CropIn’s platform is versatile, in that it can be configured to meet the requirements of diverse geographies and unique user requirements, while enabling the collection and management of quality data on close to 400 crops and 9400+ crop varieties. Furthermore, the platform leverages this data to establish end-to-end traceability along the supply chain to ensure that the blockchain is as reliable as it gets.
CropIn’s offerings for a blockchain system include: