Poor infrastructure stops farmers taking advantage of blockchain
As the agricultural sector stands the chance to reap enormous efficiency savings through the adoption of blockchain technology, many farmers lack the digital infrastructure to support the integration of technology solutions.
In the Australian Blockchain Week on April 21, talking about the challenges associated with fostering DLT adoption within primary industries, Bridie Ohlsson, CEO of digital agricultural infrastructure provider Geora said: “In ag-tech, it's been a problem of not having enough infrastructure, not there not being a use case.”
Further she said. “As long as we have farmers calling up and saying, ‘Hey, your product looks great, but I don’t have internet on-farm’, that’s an infrastructure problem. And so we definitely need to be investing more in simply access to technologies. In 2016, when we started piloting some of the applications of blockchain for [agriculture], we were moving people off pen and paper, and our biggest competitor was Excel.”
Bridie argued that agriculture sector has failed to realize the promise of blockchain technology as a force for democratization so far, with the majority of DLT pilots being executed by big corporate entities:
“Blockchain has been a world of multimillion dollar pilots for vertically integrated companies. It hasn’t held true to its promise necessarily of democratizing access to technology, and it's been too technical and too expensive for 570 million farmers globally to access.”
However, she believes the time is changing now, the technology is now available at an affordable price, “rather than starting with a huge pilot agreement, a whole lot of legals, and hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank.”
As Australia is losing billions annually on the food and wine products fraudulently claiming Australian origin in the global markets, a remarkable number of firms are trying to push blockchain use cases to certify provenance and drive savings across the agricultural supply chain among them some of the names are BeefChain, AgChain and VeChain.