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Cultivating the Garden: How to Use Blockchain in Agriculture

The Blockchain phenomenon is gradually settling into people's lives, making it imperative to understand its applications and limitations. Today, we will discuss how Blockchain can improve the food industry.

Our current food system provides a fertile opportunity to explore how Blockchain technology can interact with our ecosystems – human and ecological – to add value to our lives. Fortunately, a number of startups are already working hard in this area.

After the introduction of Ethereum, altcoins have become a popular way to present ideas for new cryptocurrencies. We are currently in a period of hype, where many developers offer crazy ideas to solve non-existent or trivial problems. It is vital that the company and developers focus on applying Blockchain to relevant and important projects, rather than assuming that Blockchain technology is a universal panacea.

Food and eating

Clearly related to chronic diseases such as heart disease, liver damage, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, to name a few only a few. We can dramatically reduce chronic diseases by improving the quality of available food. This requires an answer to the following question: Why do we eat poor quality foods?

This big problem can be divided into three parts: production, delivery and sale.

Farm. Agriculture always involves high risks – natural disaster, crop failure, accidents, and so on. – that directly affect what a farm can offer. Market conditions and large agricultural societies can also make the lives of small farmers difficult. Companies often abuse their positions by using expensive fertilizers and patented GMO seeds to gain competitive advantages over small farms.

Another problem is the logistics of food delivery. Modern agriculture is under the seat of the producer-distributor-consumer model of the big chains. Large-scale food producers often organize industrial food production in developing countries. They then create large scale distribution networks to sell food on a global scale.

Producers are often unable to sell their products directly to consumers, requiring the use of merchants or distributors who purchase their product at a lower cost. Large companies are able to mass produce cheap food and fill the distribution channels, but this food is never completely consumed. The result is the creation of a new problem: the waste and the elimination of food. Resources such as fuel and fertilizers are used to produce and distribute foods that will never be consumed, which will create waste.

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Solutions are Possible

Fortunately, health, nutrition, agriculture, agriculture and logistics are interconnected and we can solve these challenges with modern technologies, using experts who understand the systems.

We spoke with Liz Reitzig, founder of NourishingLiberty, who worked for 15 years on food systems from all angles. She is a consumer advocate who worked in retail, politics, agriculture and support to farmers

Blockchain as a financial tool

Blockchain technologies offer good instruments to provide farmers with prompt and complete payment. their efforts. The use of these technologies will help avoid risks and make life easier for the farmer. According to Reitzig:

"Blockchain … offers [a] means for farmers to contract with sellers to cultivate what they need, full or partial payment can be made immediately in escrow … to guarantee payment to the farmer without breach of contract and coercion by traders. Being paid for the job is a big challenge in the farming world, and Blockchain can alleviate some of that. "

Through smart contracts, farmers can be paid all year round. . By using a smart contract-based calculation system, it's much safer to work with pre-orders, food baskets, and shopping clubs.

"Some farms produce something called community-supported agriculture (CSA). It's a growing model where consumers prepay a farm for the entire season. We could pay $ 500 in early spring, and we'll get a box of vegetables every week for 30 weeks. Blockchain can handle all this transaction.

Mikhail Shlyapnikov, a Russian farmer, is one of the first farmers to set up Blockchain as a financial instrument to develop his economy and introduced his own cryptocurrency for his farm.

"A farmer has different tools: shovels, tractors. Blockchain is also a tool, and it's up to you to do it whether you use it or not.

Simplifying Deliveries

Smart contracts can include any of the conditions and any parties without lawyers, for example using a smart contract , the owner of a small cafe can buy coffee beans directly from a Kenyan farmer.

Suddenly, he can order delivery in Europe, pay the work of the customs broker and for the certification according to the laws of the country of delivery Smart contracts free farmers from long chains of intermediaries and thus lower the final price of the product for the consumer.

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Origin, quality and certification

Implementation of the Blockchain in Production, Certification and Food Processing steps create transparency in an otherwise non-transparent system and allow consumers s to support the suppliers of their choice. It is particularly relevant for organic products and certified origin.

Liz Reitzig stresses the importance of determining the origin of organic products:

"If a farm is certified organic, or that it wants to highlight a different type of certification, they can use Blockchain to track products.Consumers want to know what they're buying, and Blockchain can offer that. "

Marcel Blankenstein, Owner from Naked Organics, think that the original information may be of interest to the user as long as it is usable:

"The chain of blocks in the l & # 39; Agriculture allows the consumer to scan the barcode of a product in a supermarket and instantly view the entire supply chain from one supermarket to the other. In terms of transparency geared towards the consumer from a regulatory point of view However, agricultural contamination can be very quickly isolated. "

A Farmer Sse Blockchain Can

Reitzig believe that the most difficult obstacles to the implementation of Blockchain are complicated working principles and terminology.

"The biggest challenge for farmers in using Blockchain is to overcome the technical understanding of it. Farmers are focusing on agriculture. They are not on the cutting edge of technology. "


This means that Blockchain technologies have to be simple to understand and use, and a number of startups have worked in this space. Complete platform to make Blockchain usage simpler for farmers.They have united all the Blockchain functions related to food, agriculture and agriculture

This system includes intelligent contract libraries, remote identification systems, a digital currency payment processor and a digital currency token, Gregory Arzumanian, co-founder of 1000Ecofarms, says:


"We have learned all the opportunities that Blockchain technologies can help. When Blockchain technologies are tangible and understandable, we can apply them even to the basic human need for food. [A] The main objective is to create a comprehensive, understandable and safe ecosystem for agri-food companies that would allow them to significantly reduce the expenses associated with the production, sale and logistics of consumer goods. "

The blockchain is not a panacea

Blockchain technologies can alleviate technical difficulties and simplify the life of the farmer, and make our food – and therefore our health – However, there are still problems that only consumers can help solve.

Marcel Blankenstein is convinced that the main challenge of any modern farmer is the ignorance of consumers, which must be solved before that Blockchain can reach its full potential:

"If we do not teach consumers to understand that conventional agriculture is" bad ", Blockchain will have very little of "good" purpose, from the point of view of sustainability. It is important to remember that traceability does not equate to good farming techniques and that quality food is not equal to healthy food.

Fortunately, we are seeing modern agriculture evolving rapidly towards sustainability. Healthy and organic foods are becoming increasingly popular and affordable with Blockchain technologies, which means that direct dealing with consumers can be profitable for small farms.

Ecosystem Between Peers

Blockchain is a valuable technology, but people have to create the rest of the ecosystem. If we show the origin of food while creating an open and enlightened market, we create a level playing field where small and medium producers can reach their customers.

In turn, when consumers can find products and farmers their needs, and can pay them full value for their product, farmers can make a viable living, allowing them to stay at home. close and continue the work that they like.

Ann Maslova is a freelance Russian writer and freelance journalist living in Spain, interested in modern technologies, social problems and opportunities to live a healthy life among them. After the crypto-currency and blockchain boost in recent years, she has been very interested in this topic and wants to contribute in this area.