With India being a predominantly agrarian economy, agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for approximately 58 percent of the country’s population, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). As one of the largest employers in the country, India’s agriculture sector is undoubtedly one of the most important.
However, unlike other industries, the agriculture industry has been relatively slow in the adoption of technology, although recent years have seen agritech players introduce tech-driven solutions to enhance yield, improve quality of life for farmers, and bolster farming in India.
The global COVID-19 pandemic proved to be devastating as food supply chains across the globe were disrupted due to movement restrictions and safety concerns.
Moreover, the crisis underscored the need for cutting-edge technologies in the sector to boost the resilience of food supply chains, besides contributing to improved efficiency in the production and distribution of crops. One of the key technologies that have the potential to fortify farming in India is blockchain.
Case for blockchain in agriculture
Agriculture is composed of many disparate segments e.g., seeds, crop nutrition, crop protection, farm equipment, credit, warehousing, transportation logistics, food processing, food preservation etc.
While the food goes through many different players on its journey from the farm to the food plate, there is a strong urge by consumers today to know what are they eating. Also, as supply chains have become longer, any user becomes more concerned about the origin and journey of the produce.
Blockchain is the only way that traceability can be brought reliably to farm produce with the distributed market architecture.
Data collection and processing
Agritech players are bringing in IoT devices and sensors, and blockchain technologies can be used to consolidate information on multiple aspects – the quality of the seed, tracking the crops, and the journey of the crops once they leave the farm up until they are sold in the market.
Besides enhancing transparency in the food supply chain, blockchain technology can also augment security by preventing unethical production and distribution of crops that undermine farmers’ lives.
From a consumer standpoint, blockchain’s data gathering will allow consumers to make informed decisions and may even enable them to contribute to the betterment of small-time farmers who are often in need of food and monetary security.
Once the data is collected, it needs to be structured and understandable before it can be saved. Blockchain technology helps add meta information to enrich the data and structure efficiently. Post this, it can be saved, making compliance enforcement more seamless. Data compliance ensures that the data collected is protected and adheres to security measures.
Transparency and reliability
With blockchain technology, the need for middlemen in the agriculture sector is eliminated. By alleviating the need for a central authority, blockchain helps restore and build trust between the producers and consumers. This can also help reduce costs in the market, making it more affordable with seamless functioning.
Offering a reliable approach to tracking transactions, blockchain dramatically improves security, and allows only verified transactions to take place. Agritech companies are leveraging blockchain to build data-driven facilities that will make farmers smarter, more digitally savvy, and largely improve their quality of life.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)