While the farming industry can achieve massive efficiency savings through the adoption of distributed ledger technologies, many farmers lack the digital infrastructure to support the integration of blockchain solutions.
Bridie Ohlsson, the CEO of Geora, a digital agricultural infrastructure provider, spoke as part of Australian Blockchain Week on April 21 about the challenges associated with advancing DLT adoption within primary industries.
“In agricultural engineering, the problem has been that there was not enough infrastructure, and there was no use case,” she said. “As long as we have farmers calling and saying, ‘Hey, your product looks great, but I don’t have internet on the farm’, that’s an infrastructure problem. And so we definitely need to invest more in easy access to technologies. ”
“In 2016, when we started testing some blockchain applications for [agriculture], we took people away from pen and paper, and our biggest competitor was Excel. “
Ohlsson also argued that agriculture has not yet realized the promise of blockchain technology as a force for democratization, with the majority of DLT pilots being conducted by large corporate entities:
“Blockchain is a world of multimillion-dollar pilots for vertically integrated companies. It has failed to deliver on its promise to democratize access to technology, and it has been too technical and expensive for 570 million farmers worldwide to access. “
However, Ohlsson believes this is now changing and claims the technology can now be offered at an affordable price, “instead of starting with a massive pilot deal, tons of legal business and hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank.”
“I think it is shifting, and I think that now puts us in a good position to take advantage of what we were unable to deliver before,” she added.
With Australia losing billions annually in food and wine products fraudulently claiming Australian origins in world markets, more and more companies are seeking to use blockchain to certify provenance and drive savings across the agricultural supply chain. BeefChain, AgChain and VeChain are just a few of the providers that offer solutions.
Last year, Mastercard, Visa and AliPay announced their involvement in the recently launched APAC Provenance Council, which focused on supply chain tracking pilots in the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2018, Australia’s National Transport Insurance announced a trial in partnership with BeefLedger to strengthen the supply chain integrity of beef exports.