Blockchain and the Future of Agriculture

By ICO Alert

  • Agriculture is a multi-trillion dollar industry
  • Blockchain can play a vital role in the optimization of farming practices

Agriculture has grown into a multi-trillion dollar industry. However, there are many challenges currently facing the sector and food security remains a global issue. How big could the impact of blockchain become in overcoming the mounting problems and shape the future of agriculture?

Why This Matters: With current issues like food shortages, food security, and climate change, blockchain can play a vital role in the optimization of farming practices and also create new potential market opportunities. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, around one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year.

When looking at the U.S., for instance, widespread food security incidents are quite frequent. For example, in April 2018, Walmart (WMT -0.60%), Food Lion and other grocery store chains recalled more than 206.7 million eggs due to a salmonella outbreak. The main issue is that it’s difficult to track down the source of these food security problems. Blockchain-backed agriculture systems could help reduce the likelihood of these large-scale food security issues. Grocery stores and restaurants would be able to scan blockchain-enabled RFID tags to check whether their products have been affected by such outbreaks.

There are some big blockchain projects across the world aimed at tackling these problems. In Australia, BlockGrain is focused on the supply chain logistics and smart contracts for the shipping process. There’s also Pavo, which helps farmers know when and how to best distribute water to crops, something that is much-needed in the water scarce farm lands on the west coast and other regions throughout the world. It’s already been implemented in almond and walnut farms across California.

Situational Awareness: Technology-driven agriculture could potentially make agricultural products not only cheaper, but also verifiably safer to consume. Once blockchain is applied the global agricultural system should become more efficient, by allowing farmers to optimize crop production and also tackle food scarcity issues.

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