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BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE

Blockchain is a distributed record of transactions and accounts that are recorded and preserved by all parties involved, also known as a blockchain ledger. The goal of blockchain technology is to promote transparency and accountability, which is why it's becoming a popular tool in modern blockchain in the agriculture sector.

Blockchain in the agriculture industry is used as a technology to assist enhance the number of reliable information available about inventory, the agricultural industry, and the overall status of the farms. In the past, storing data was a costly process, but blockchain has the potential to alter that in the near future.

By continually tracking the source of various products, it is now feasible to enhance the quality of the food supply chain management and preserve confidence between customers and farmers using blockchain in agriculture.

It enables the facilitation of numerous data-driven technologies in order to bring in the era of smart farming industry since it is a stable and trustworthy means of storing data. When used in combination with the notion of smart contracts, it helps to smooth out the nature of transactions between multiple parties by speeding up the entire process.

The Agriculture Sector in Developing Countries

There are various blockchain uses in the agricultural sector right now, and more are being created based on recent technological advancements. There are a few major segments to growing the blockchain in agriculture industry in developing countries.

Smart farming

Smart farming, also known as smart agriculture, is the practice of incorporating numerous current technological advancements into the precision farming process to increase its efficiency and dependability. It incorporates aspects such as information and communications technology, different sensors, machine learning technology, and a variety of such data collection and analytical tools.

Although smart technology has been available to farming for some time, developing a solid and comprehensive security system in order to effectively handle and exploit the data collected is a big difficulty in its application.

All of the procedures in the traditional smart technology management system are often centralized, resulting in different errors and distortions in data collecting. It also increases the risk of a cyber-attack being launched against the entire system. However, with current blockchain technology, it is now feasible to securely store data. From the seed until the sale of diverse agricultural production, the many players in the entire process are enabled to generate the necessary environmental monitoring data at any point along the path. Blockchain technology enables data transparency and assures that all statistics are immutable.

When it comes to smart agriculture, blockchain's decentralization is by far its greatest strength. This capability also makes it simple to provide data to diverse users' displays while reducing data loss and distortion. For the sake of transparency, all transactions in a blockchain are properly recorded.

Smart Farming Model

Numerous smart farming models have been established to date based on the value and promise of blockchain in agriculture. These models assist to bring the features of blockchain technology and IoT together.

One such solution was created expressly for greenhouses, which require the usage of IoT sensors to operate as a private local blockchain that can be easily maintained by the farmer.

Another approach has been developed for broad usage, which incorporates IoT and blockchain technologies. The basic principle of this structure is to aid in the development of trust among the many blockchain players. Smartphones may be used by a variety of users to access data stored at every stage of the farming process, from seed to product sale.

Smart Farming Technology

Several firms are also devoting a significant amount of time and money to the rural development of the smart agricultural industry and supply chain. "Filament", for example, is a brand that sells products that use smart farming technology to connect multiple networks to actual items. The business created a coin-sized piece of technology to aid users in conducting safe transactions on a blockchain.

Food supply chain

Because of the process of globalization, the food supply chain in the agriculture market has become longer and more intensive than it has ever been. The truth remains, however, that there are several challenges in the present food supply chain transparency, including concerns about food security, quality, traceability, trust, and supply chain inefficiencies. This burdens not just the economy and society but also puts customers' health at risk.

Blockchain technology serves in the resolution of many of these difficulties by facilitating the establishment of trust between producers (or supply chain) and customers. Offering specific product data within the blockchain can substantially improve transparency in this process.

This has far-reaching consequences for both corporations and farmers. It enables businesses to raise the value of their goods and, as a result, their market competitiveness. It would also make it extremely impossible for providers of low-quality or fake goods to stay in the system for very long if they kept up their bad habits.

From a consumer standpoint, the usage of blockchain can be critical in providing people with trustworthy and accurate information about how their food is produced. It may be utilized to address a variety of customer concerns about food quality, safety, and environmental friendliness. Consumers who have a better awareness of their food's manufacturing process have more freedom to communicate with their food companies.

Agricultural insurance

Climate change has rendered the entire agricultural industry increasingly uncertain in recent years. Weather extremes have an impact on the quality of both crops and cattle. Agricultural insurance schemes are considered a go-to choice for most farmers in an effort to fight the uncertainty of farming.

Farmers pay a modest insurance charge at the start of each cropping cycle and are entitled to payment if their farms suffer losses due to weather irregularities. This provides farmers with some breathing room while they deal with the uncertainty brought on by the weather stations as well as the supply chain.

Farmers can choose from a variety of insurance policies that differ in terms of how losses are calculated and payouts are made. Insurance policy is a common form of agricultural insurance that compensates farmers based on an expert's evaluation of the losses on the farm.

Insurance policy, however, has a number of difficulties relating to damage assessment and lack of insurer information, which has a long-term negative impact on both farmers and insurance agencies.

We've seen blockchain technology expand and become widely available in recent years, with the potential to alter a variety of industries, particularly the food industry. There are a lot of inventors in the blockchain field.

In two fundamental ways, blockchain can aid the advancement of index-based insurances. For starters, payments might be based on a real-time and automatic criterion like weather data generated. This option may be used to trigger the final payout depending on the smart contract's precisely specified terms.

Second, with the use of a smart oracle, all data sources, such as weather data and plant growth information, may be automatically used in the insurance scheme. This significantly improves the payment process and index determination.

Smart index insurance contracts are already in use in a number of countries. Etherisc, for example, is a Swiss-based firm that assists farmers in obtaining blockchain-based decentralized crop insurance. The payout process of this insurance is dependent on meteorological data, which increases the process's dependability.

Transactions of agricultural products

By implementing blockchain technology, the acquisition and selling of agricultural products on e-commerce sites may be substantially accelerated. It is beneficial to this section in many ways:

  • Information protection
  • Management of the supply chain
  • Storing data of the supply chain
  • Decentralized crop insurance for a supply chain
  • Reduce transaction costs for a supply chain
  • In terms of data security, blockchain provides the critical characteristic of private key encryption, which improves the authentication process' validity. This can aid in the safe and secure application of all data acquired throughout the planting and harvesting stages.

    In terms of supply chain management, blockchain helps to increase overall efficiency by lowering the cost of signaling for all parties involved.

    Furthermore, blockchain contributes to the security of the payment process by providing digital payment solutions with no transaction cost. The adoption of cryptocurrencies in this technique will assist to reduce transaction cost even more.

    All of this contributes to increased customer trust in the e-commerce process of acquiring agricultural sector. This has a number of advantages for farmers, who stand to make a lot more money and obtain a larger internet audience for their products.

    Food Production and Blockchain Technology

    When it comes to food production, the blockchain technology delivers transparency, security, and decentralization. Immutability is a property of blockchain. Every modification is monitored, documented, and exposed to the whole network of people who have access to the information, so transactions cannot be changed or disguised.

    It also stores data in a distributed fashion. This implies that information is not stored on a single server. Rather, numerous copies of the data are stored on multiple networks that all members may access and read. Because blockchain creates such a transparent environment, it eliminates the need for trust and eliminates the necessity for a central authority to mediate between the parties.

    The features of blockchain technology that are particularly beneficial in food tampering, fraud, and deceptive advertising are all things that need to be avoided. Assisting with large-scale recalls of hazardous goods. Detecting food waste in supply chain networks. Reducing the likelihood of food spoilage. And allowing businesses to confirm organic or fair-food origins.

    However, there are a few obstacles with blockchain that must be overcome. The issue of how to overcome the complexity of the food ecosystem is the first obstacle for newcomers to the field. Implementing blockchain technology at a typical agricultural food production site necessitates a tailored system and improved data input procedures. Agricultural goods come in a range of shapes, sizes, storage systems, handling processes, and data recording ways.

    Multiple platforms and non-synchronized terminology can present difficulties in adjusting to the food system. Numerous participants and many levels of infrastructure are involved in the food ecosystem. Implementing blockchain at scale necessitates a significant amount of granular customization, from farm operations to working around current ERP systems and changing the data collecting method.

    Data transparency is also a worry raised by opponents of blockchain for food. On the one side, data transparency would provide accountability for inclusive trade and agricultural industry methods, bolstering claims like organic, freshness, and higher quality. On the other side, if something goes wrong, precise information may be inspected, resulting in a backlash against corporations. Requesting voluntary sharing of information is tough, especially when the information is vital and might impact enterprises. In agricultural food production, if a pesticide is applied to treat plant disease during manufacturing, customers may reduce the value of the product or reject it outright. Farmers may be hesitant to engage in smart contracts and blockchain implementation if their competitors gain a competitive advantage by concealing specific goods or processing data.

    Another problem to be concerned about is blockchain's ability to manage enormous amounts of data, particularly trading data. So far, blockchain use in transactions, where more major economic repercussions may occur, has received the least attention. First, major businesses are showing interest in using blockchain because they already have the infrastructure in place, both technological systems, and data, to facilitate the automation of data processing at the farm level. Furthermore, because one of the restrictions of the blockchain is that each transaction added to the blockchain increases the size of the database, the structure and scaling must be properly planned out. The network should either have a smaller ledger or more centralized control. As a result, companies are requesting big trials to test the boundaries of blockchain before it is implemented.

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    Food Supply Chain Management

    Food supply chains have grown longer and more complicated than ever before as a result of rising globalization and severe market rivalry. Food supply chain inefficiencies, such as food traceability, food safety, and quality, food trust, and supply chain inefficiency, all pose significant dangers to society, the economy, and human health. Smart contracts play vital role in the food supply chain systems.

    By publicly giving individual product information on the blockchain, blockchain technology helps manufacturers develop a trust relationship with customers and build up the reputation of their products. Businesses may boost their competitiveness by better achieving the value of their goods. This would make it impossible for fraud and low-quality product providers to continue in business, and it would drive all suppliers in the agricultural industry and food industries to improve product quality. From the standpoint of consumers, the blockchain provides accurate and trustworthy information about how food is produced and traded. It contributes to addressing customer concerns about food safety, quality, and environmental friendliness. Because customers can comprehend the food production process more easily and in more detail thanks to the usage of blockchain, they may connect with farmers. It helps consumers by lowering barriers to the exchange of commodities in order to develop their relationship and, as a result, consumer confidence and trust in food safety. From the standpoint of regulatory authorities, blockchain provides a supply chain with trustworthy and accurate data that allows them to implement educated and efficient policies and can even help in their crop insurance process.

    Blockchain is a rapidly developing technology. Even while technology has started to transform several sectors, it still has a long way to go. The current state of blockchain technology in the food supply chain is still in its development. At the same time, there are several immature and flawed areas in the blockchain technology deployment process. Furthermore, the deployment of blockchain technology in the food supply chain necessitates widespread engagement and collaboration from all stakeholders involved, which is critical for it to play its full function. Blockchain technology allows for the tracking of food quality information across the supply chain because of its qualities of transparency, security, and decentralization. This aids in the prevention of food fraud and the reduction of supply chain management expenses. As a result, all parties can gain, including manufacturers, customers, and government regulatory organizations.

    Blockchain technology allows for information traceability in the food supply chain, which helps to enhance food safety. It promotes the creation and deployment of data-driven technologies for smart farming and smart index-based agriculture insurance by providing a safe manner of storing and managing data. Furthermore, it has the potential to lower transaction costs, improve farmers' access to markets, and provide new revenue sources. Despite its immense potential benefits, blockchain in agriculture and food still has significant limits.

    First, further study is needed into the motivations of the transacting parties to contribute accurate and real data to the blockchain ledger. This is particularly relevant in the case of small-scale farming. Individual farmers own and disseminate the knowledge created throughout the farming process. The benefits of blockchain technology for farmers may vary depending on the size of the farm. On the one hand, a blockchain-based insurance market may be easily accessed by smaller farms. Larger farms, on the other hand, may find it more straightforward to gather and integrate on-farm data. As a result, future studies should focus on predicting which farms would profit and which will suffer as a result of the implementation of blockchain-based solutions.

    Second, collecting the data from the supply chain that is posted to a blockchain can be highly expensive, which will be a barrier to smart contracts and blockchain adoption in the supply chain industry. The setup of a distributed ledger may be inexpensive, but gathering data necessary to make the ledger usable, such as DNA from farm animals, may be costly. Sampling can save money, but it requires a large population of items to collect data on. This suggests that the average cost of data gathering is cheaper for bigger farms than for smaller farms, thus widening the income gap.

    Third, smart contracts and blockchain do not interface with traditional systems of a supply chain in a smooth manner. The technology must be integrated with an existing database and legacy systems such as enterprise resource planning, warehouse management, and manufacturing execution systems in order to be effective. It might take a long time to set up an infrastructure to employ blockchain technology. Middleware and communication protocols that can bring disparate systems together will be crucial.

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    Conclusion

    Blockchain is a rapidly developing technology. Even while technology has started to transform several sectors, it still has a long way to go.

    We've seen blockchain technology expand and become widely available in recent years, with the potential to alter a variety of industries, particularly the food industry. There are a lot of inventors in the blockchain field.

    However, it is becoming increasingly evident that blockchain in agriculture has applications in the business. The global agriculture market is currently valued at more than 2.4 trillion dollars and employs more than one billion people. There is more possibility for creativity now than ever before.

    Agricultural supply chains can be greatly benefitted from smart contracts and blockchain technology if the food producers and other supply chains start focusing on big data, crop insurance, unmanned aerial vehicles, and similar efficient regulations that ease the job of tracking as well as bringing the agricultural physical objects from their exact location to the retail store.

    Smart contracts can help in revolutionizing the agricultural supply chains by utilizing the data collected through crop insurance schemes and other such processes to boost the supply chain management system all in all.

    To sum it all up, if a supply chain is eager to boost its efficiency in the agriculture sector, there is no better way than developing a private local blockchain for it to date. This will help a supply chain in managing and tracking the entire process by keeping live access to the data collected as well as the data stored in the food production process and its supply.

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