Blockchain 'the answer to global food supply chain waste'

By Henry Duckworth
Henry Duckworth, COO of global food supply chain blockchain solution, AgriDex, on why the technology can prevent one third of all food from being wasted

Every year, one-third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted. Loss happens at every stage in the supply chain, from production and harvesting to processing and distribution.

Further, the production and transportation of food generates greenhouse gases, with discarded food alone accounting for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Also, much of the food ‘lost’ is discarded due to aesthetics. Grocery stores in the United States and Europe have strict cosmetic rules, leading to the rejection of perfectly edible produce. The answer to food waste is to better manage the supply chains that underpin it. This requires a solution that attacks complexity with simplicity.

Enter blockchain, which has the potential to significantly improve the agricultural supply chain, which lacks traceability and transparency. 

Blockchain technology provides a decentralised and secure database that records every transaction along the supply chain. Picture real-time tracking and traceability of products, with regularised updates on each stated leg of a journey. 

Blockchain can verify the origin and safety of food

Using blockchain technology, consumers can easily verify the origin and safety of their food, while farmers can access vital information about market demand and pricing. A study by IBM found that 71% of consumers who feel traceability is important say they would pay a premium for brands that provide it. 

Blockchain technology can streamline and automate processes in the supply chain, allowing bills of lading to become electronic, or smart contracts to ensure acceptance. More goods will end up on tables being consumed, not rotting on port docks while officials and companies argue on specs.

Smart contracts also remove paper waste. Over the past 20 years we have seen an actual net increase in paper use and filling. In a time of cloud and email, agri-supply chain must answer to the information age. 

Imagine passing documents, accepting cargo, clearing for export, and settling for payment, all while incurring limited transaction charges and zero paperwork. This is a viable solution.

Then there is the world of digital marketplaces built on their own blockchains. This is where price updates sit alongside multiple groups tendering services. All this while linking farmers to end buyers and using IoT trackers to sort food fraud and food wastage. 

At AgriDex we’ve spent the past four years working towards a global blockchain that provides digital marketplaces and supply chain information for all participants in the global food chain.

The end goal is effective supply chain management, by tracing food from farm to consumer. This includes reduction of food loss, through:

  • Providing information about food demand and supply
  • Helping farmers more accurately predict and meet consumer demand
  • Reducing the amount of surplus or unsold food.

​​​​​​​Henry Duckworth is COO of AgriDex,  a global blockchain that provides digital marketplaces and supply chain information for all participants in the global food chain.

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