Blockchain and the agri-food value chain

//Blockchain and the agri-food value chain

 

Blockchain technology is an effective way to generate mechanisms to ensure the real traceability of transactions and products along with the information associated with them, as well as guarantee the integrity of such information.

This marks a differential element to ensure food quality and safety. Also in the fight against fraud.

We are facing a scenario in the food and beverage sector where the concept of global value chain is increasingly consolidated, with multiple agents and markets together with a consumer increasingly concerned about the quality and safety of the products he consumes.

In this scenario, it seems increasingly important to generate mechanisms that allow companies that participate in these chains to ensure that what they buy is effectively what they believe they buy, as well as transferring to the consumer with transparency the security that they also buy what they buy. What do you think you buy It is essential, therefore, to generate said mechanisms so that they can ensure real traceability of transactions and products together with the information associated with them, as well as guarantee the integrity of said information.
Basically, to solve this issue is what Blockchain technology has been created for: an effective way to balance the need for confidentiality with the need for transparency. This data integrity will mark a differential element to ensure the quality and food safety of the product.

Blockchain and traceability in the agri-food value chain.

Current technologies provide transactional mechanisms in which each element of the value chain keeps its own records (product traceability, quality data, technical sheet, analytical bulletins, etc.), having as disadvantage its inefficiency, the difficulty of maintaining the coherence between each other and the high cost.
Given this scenario, the application of Blockchain technology in the value chain saves time and costs in carrying out transactions, reducing the risk of information manipulation and improving trust through transparent operations. The proposal of this technology is based on 4 basic pillars:

  • A registry or database distributed and shared among all participants with access.
  • Restricted to your operations.
  • Verification and automation of transactions (“Smart contracts”).
  • Private identity management.
  • Register of validated operations (only consensual operations are registered and
    these cannot be modified).

Undoubtedly, the main value of blockchain technology for the agri-food sector is its ability to offer information on the origin of food, its composition, its characteristics and ingredients, the fingerprint, the way in which it has been produced, etc. This technology allows you to track food products throughout the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer. For its part, the consumer is sure that he is paying for the product that has actually been offered, reducing fraud in the food chain (extra virgin olive oil, wine, etc.).

On the other hand, the large amount of data collected by this technology is also useful for the distributor, since it can improve the management and labeling of the products, detect the alterations and the availability of the same, as well as track the individual authors of fraudulent behaviors or errors in orders. Therefore, it facilitates the work of subsequent processes of “Business Intelligence
In addition, it allows the elimination of part of the intermediaries and the intermediation costs, the reduction of the risk to change it and of procedures in the processes of import and export, as well as the acceleration of the processes of insurance collection and international payment.

Blockchain and the fight against fraud.

Beyond the technology itself, and the benefits we have just seen, it should be noted that the integration of Blockchain in the value chain allows drastically reducing the possibility of cases of food fraud, since it forces suppliers to document the information correctly and a better monitoring of the traceability of the product along the chain. Blockchain technology can help track food sources in cases of foodborne illness, detect food fraud and limit food
food waste It should be noted that global companies such as Walmart, Nestle, Dole, Carrefour and Unilever have already taken the first steps to integrate this technology into their processes.

 

Thus, Blockchain goes beyond providing an environment that allows the exchange of efficient and reliable information, but, taking into account the industry’s interest in implementing preventive and transparency management mechanisms, technology also allows the development of a transversal proposal. to the whole chain in which other services are also integrated that facilitate from the prediction of the quality of the raw materials, or the
prediction of the useful life, until the transparency of the information in the chain. The future of blockchain includes making digital food data accessible to consumers, which will reinforce its confidence in the products it consumes.

7 August, 2019
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