August 28th, 2018

Beyond the blockchain

Published by Agriterra,

This magazine (PDF) by Agriterra examines the opportunities of blockchain in agriculture for smallholder farmers. Technological development like blockchains are increasingly helpful to involve small-scale farmers in agricultural value chains. However, scaling up solutions are hindered by costs and the access to connectivity and digital literacy skills is limited. According to the magazine, the answer lies in involving the whole value chain in a common production plan and involving farmers themselves. The magazine offers concrete examples were value can be added; involving farmers in the development of internet applications, and train and advise farmers on connectivity, digital literacy skills, privacy and data ownership. Further, the magazine explores how farmers can be involved in the development of application for the Internet of Things (IoT). One article in the magazine is on Agri-wallet, a mobile wallet with a virtual currency based on blockchain technology. Agri-wallet gives farmers direct access to finance and allows them to save tokens (vouchers) that can only be spent on farm outputs. These investments, in combination with better knowledge, irrigation systems and pesticides, can help farmers increase their yield by up to 600%. Farmers also have easier access to financing via a worldwide network of investors. Data collected by the technology can help farmers optimise their production, for example to better understand the best price-quality ratio for seeds or the perfect harvest time. The article on the IoT for food and farming industries has an ambitious goal: make precision farming reality and move towards a sustainable food value chain. In this process, farmers need to be heard, to maintain control over their own data. This gives farmers the opportunity to start a counter-movement against the “bit agribusiness player”. Therefore, it is important to involve farmers in the development of IoT applications, advise and train them and help them make choices.

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