E-agriculture in action: Blockchain for agriculture – Opportunities and challenges
This publication (PDF) by FAO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) aims to demystify the blockchain technology, provide some thoughts on the opportunities and challenges in implementing blockchain-based systems as well as document some case studies on the use of blockchain for agriculture. In the agriculture domain, self-executing smart contracts together with automated payments would be the game changer. Blockchain comes with a number of implementing challenges, these can be mitigated by an assessment framework looking at the critical elements from the perspective of several layers and standardizing the requirements. This would enable greater adoption and ecosystem development to mainstream blockchain. An applications of the blockchain technology that is already in practice for agriculture is FARMS: financial and agricultural risk management for smallholders, that offers an easy entry to formal financial risk management while increasing farmers financial literacy. The concept is enabled by a blockchain-based virtual currency platform integrated with remote sensing (satellite) data and mobile money solutions, which ensures transparent secure transactions and “earmarking” of funds, automated payment and information dashboards. AgriDigital is a blockchain for agricultural supply chains that has a cloud-based commodity management solution in marketing for the global grains industry. It connects grain farmers, buyers, site operators and financiers through a single platform, allowing them to contract, deliver and make payments securely and in real time. Building Blocks is using blockchain to make cash-based transfers more efficient, secure and transparent. It allows any two parties to transact directly and removes the need for third party intermediaries such as banks or other institutions. This can speed up transactions while lowering the chance of fraud or data mismanagement. AgUnity is providing a pathway to financial inclsuion for the world’s poorest farmers. Lastly, the AgUnity App is a simple mobile service that helps small farmers plan, trade and track everyday transactions. This is a way for farmers to cooperate, store value, save money and easily buy products and services.