Blockchain is revolutionising agricultural businesses and supply chains

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Digital solutions have huge potential for helping farmers boost productivity and connect to financial tools and markets around the world. An article from the Brookings Institution has looked at how digitisation and blockchain can benefit both consumers and farmers.

The article highlights the example of Nigerian company “Hello Tractor”. It notes that a few days of tractor use for farmers in northern Nigeria could improve productivity by 20 to 40 times. However, farmers cannot afford to buy a tractor in remote rural areas of Africa. Jehiel Oliver, founder of Hello Tractor, thought that an Uber-like tractor service might be a solution. “Our booking system allows farmers to conveniently request, schedule, and prepay for tractor services from nearby smart tractor owners, through text messaging and mobile money. Once service is completed, the prepayment is automatically released to the smart tractor owner,” says Oliver.

The Internet of Things allows greater asset utilisation in many businesses. Developed economies such as Australia could also benefit from this. Businesses that do infrequent deliveries could share use of a truck. Mining companies could share expensive capital equipment that only needs to be used occasionally.

The article also highlights how technology can improve food safety in value chains. For instance, consumers in China do not trust domestic food producers. Too many food scandals in the past have undermined trust. As a result, IBM, Walmart, and Chinese retailer together with Tsinghua University have announced a blockchain food safety alliance to improve food tracking and safety in China. Decentralised ledger technology can trace back the origin of food products in a few seconds instead of a few weeks, making it easier to combat fraud.

Australian agri-businesses exporting to China could also make use of this technology, thus being able to show which fields beef comes from or guarantee digitally the origin of wine or wool.

For more on the advances coming from the Internet of Things see our BI Research report the connected world

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