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Blockchain/ IoT in Agrifood Supply

Written By: Jagriti Shahi, Business Analyst at Global Launch Base


Introduction:

The global agrifood industry faces numerous challenges, including inefficient supply chain management, lack of transparency, food fraud, and quality control issues. To address these issues, innovative technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being leveraged to create a transparent, secure, and efficient agrifood supply chain. This article explores the potential of blockchain and IoT in revolutionizing the agrifood industry and highlights the benefits and challenges associated with their implementation.



From the above figure, we can see that the IOT agriculture market size to surpass US$ 43.37 Bn by 2030


From the above figure, we can analyze the adoption of blockchain and IoT in different departments of the agrifood supply chain across the regions of Asia, Europe, the USA, and Latin America:

  1. Farm Management:

  • Asia has the highest investment in farm management with a total of USD 4.5 billion, followed by the USA with USD 5.1 billion.

  • Europe invests USD 3.8 billion, while Latin America invests USD 2.7 billion in farm management solutions.

  • These investments highlight the growing adoption of blockchain and IoT technologies in optimizing farm operations, including precision agriculture, remote monitoring, and data analytics.

2. Supply Chain:

  • The USA leads in supply chain investments with USD 4.5 billion, indicating a strong focus on enhancing transparency and efficiency in the agrifood supply chain through blockchain and IoT applications.

  • Asia invests USD 3.2 billion, followed by Europe with USD 2.9 billion and Latin America with USD 1.8 billion, reflecting the increasing interest in improving supply chain visibility and traceability.

3. Quality Control:

  • The USA again leads in quality control investments, allocating USD 3.9 billion towards ensuring food safety, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance.

  • Asia invests USD 2.8 billion, Europe invests USD 2.5 billion, and Latin America invests USD 1.6 billion in quality control solutions leveraging blockchain and IoT technologies.

4. Retail:

  • The USA invests USD 2.2 billion in retail applications of blockchain and IoT technologies, aiming to enhance consumer experience, product authentication, and supply chain transparency.

  • Asia allocates USD 1.9 billion, Europe allocates USD 1.6 billion, and Latin America allocates USD 1.1 billion towards blockchain and IoT solutions in the retail sector.

Overall, these investment figures reflect the increasing global adoption of blockchain and IoT technologies across various departments of the agrifood supply chain, with different regions showcasing varying levels of commitment and investment in each sector.


The Role of Blockchain in Agrifood Supply Chain:


The four-firm concentration ratio is a measure of market concentration that indicates the combined market share of the four largest firms in a particular industry. The higher the concentration ratio, the more concentrated the market is among a few dominant players.

Blockchain, a decentralized and immutable digital ledger, has the potential to transform the agrifood supply chain by providing transparency, traceability, and trust among stakeholders. Here are some key ways blockchain can enhance the industry:

Enhanced Traceability:

Blockchain enables the recording of every transaction and data point along the supply chain, including sourcing, production, transportation, and storage. Each entry is time-stamped, creating an immutable audit trail. This transparency helps identify the origin of products, reduce food fraud, and ensure adherence to quality standards.

Improved Food Safety:

Blockchain facilitates the real-time monitoring of temperature, humidity, and other relevant parameters using IoT devices. This data can be securely stored on the blockchain, ensuring that perishable goods are transported and stored under optimal conditions. In case of any deviations, stakeholders can quickly identify and rectify the issue, reducing the risk of spoilage and contamination.

Efficient Supply Chain Management:

Blockchain's decentralized nature eliminates the need for intermediaries, streamlining the supply chain. Smart contracts, self-executing agreements stored on the blockchain, can automate various processes such as payments, certifications, and compliance. This reduces paperwork, minimizes delays, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

The Role of IoT in Agrifood Supply Chain:

IoT, which refers to a network of interconnected physical devices, provides real-time data collection, monitoring, and control capabilities. When combined with blockchain, IoT can revolutionize the agrifood industry in the following ways:

Real-time Monitoring:

IoT devices such as sensors, RFID tags, and GPS trackers can be deployed throughout the supply chain to monitor conditions, track locations, and collect data. For instance, temperature sensors can ensure that perishable goods remain within specified temperature ranges during transportation, reducing spoilage and waste.

Predictive Analytics:

IoT devices generate a vast amount of data, which, when analyzed using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, can provide valuable insights. Predictive analytics can help stakeholders anticipate demand, optimize inventory management, and make data-driven decisions to improve productivity and profitability.

Remote Management and Control:

IoT enables remote management and control of critical operations in the agri-food supply chain. For example, farmers can remotely monitor and control irrigation systems, adjusting water levels based on soil moisture data collected by IoT sensors. This enhances resource efficiency and reduces manual labor requirements.

Benefits and Challenges of Blockchain and IoT Implementation:


  • The integration of blockchain and IoT in the agrifood supply chain offers several benefits, including:

  • Increased Transparency: Blockchain and IoT provide visibility into the entire supply chain, promoting trust and accountability among stakeholders.

  • Enhanced Food Safety: Real-time monitoring and data collection enable proactive identification of potential food safety risks, ensuring safer products for consumers.

  • Improved Efficiency: Automation of processes and streamlined supply chain management reduce costs, delays, and errors, leading to increased operational efficiency.


However, there are challenges to consider:


  1. Scalability: Blockchain networks may experience scalability issues when handling a large volume of transactions and data, requiring robust infrastructure upgrades.

  2. Data Privacy and Security: Protecting sensitive data collected by IoT devices and ensuring the security of blockchain networks are ongoing challenges that require robust cybersecurity measures.

  3. Standardization and Interoperability: Establishing industry-wide standards and protocols for data exchange and interoperability between different blockchain and IoT systems is crucial for seamless integration and collaboration.

  4. Adoption and Collaboration: Wide-scale adoption of blockchain and IoT technologies in the agrifood industry requires collaboration among various stakeholders, including farmers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and regulatory bodies.

Conclusion:

The agrifood industry can benefit significantly from the integration of blockchain and IoT technologies in the supply chain. Blockchain ensures transparency, traceability, and trust, while IoT provides real-time data collection and monitoring capabilities. The combination of these technologies enables stakeholders to make informed decisions, mitigate risks, improve food safety, and streamline operations. However, challenges such as scalability, data privacy, and standardization need to be addressed for successful implementation. With continued advancements and collaborative efforts, blockchain and IoT have the potential to revolutionize the agrifood industry, creating a more sustainable, secure, and efficient global food supply chain.

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