Blockchain a boon for agribusiness, says report

IBM’s blockchain-backed food supply chain network expands
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Black_Kira

The blockchain behemoth shows no signs of slowing, now a new report reveals the myriad benefits of the disruptive technology on agribusiness.

The report, from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, claims that with the continuing prevalence of blockchain, agriculture is set to benefit from lower transactions costs, optimised logistics, increased traceability and enhanced food and safety protocols.

Blockchain, which is an information storage technology that allows people to record transactions in a digitized, decentralised data log maintained on a network of computers, is already being put to use by major technology companies and some commodity merchandisers.

“This technology offers an opportunity for revolutionary change in food traceability, tracking of commodities and grain trading,” said Tanner Ehmke, Manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

“The new uses of blockchain may be met with initial resistance, but those who break through and adopt the technology early stand to benefit the most.”

According to the report, the technology will force supply chain partners to adapt as interest grows in direct-to-farmer marketing channels.

“Tools to connect farmers to the agriculture supply chain via blockchain are already in the works,” said Ehmke. “Some of those developments have the ability to transfer the ownership of grain immediately.”

In the intermediate term, the adoption of blockchain by retailers and merchandisers could pressure others in the supply chain to utilize the technology.

Over the long term, it could hasten bifurcation of the agricultural industry, where those who utilize the technology would increase their influence globally, and those who don’t could have access to fewer markets.