Solving Agri-Food issues with New-Tech
There are factors of the agri-food supply chain that can be addressed by implementing blockchain in agriculture technology. Challenges ranging from consumer demand for more information and greater transparency around the food they buy, to record-keeping and food integrity issues; this promising new technology may hold the answer.
The global agri-food supply chain is an inherently complex system; evolving since the age of hunter-gatherers through primitive agriculture. Today it is a globalised system comprised of many moving parts that make it ever-more complicated. The European Commission predicted that by 2015 approximately 12 million farms would harvest agricultural products that would be processed by 300,000 enterprises in the food and beverage industry. These products would then be sold to 2.8 million enterprises within the food distribution and service industry to feed 500 million consumers within the European Union. With such a complicated journey for food to reach our plates, one can expect many information management problems along the way within the supply chain.
Some typical concerns faced by actors in the supply chain include a lack of coordination due to individualistic mindsets and biased opinions and a lack of transparency, which can lead to food security issues like the well-publicised horsemeat scandal of 2013. A study carried out by Chopra in 2007 shows that supply chain coordination needs to happen at each stage to avoid cost implications. Many researchers are now considering how blockchain technology could solve these problems to increase transparency and traceability within the system.
“The epicure of the future will manufacture their food rather than rely on natural growth.”