How blockchain applications could drive innovations in the Agriculture industry

The African Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC), a web conference series aimed at increased participation and adoption of blockchain solutions, which ran on its on the FLOOR Platform consistently for more than ten weeks, explored the theme “Agriculture Blockchain Applications” in its tenth week of its weekend series. The session, which explored the pros and cons of the application of blockchain to the agriculture sector and the possibilities of IoT and blockchain synergies applications to the industry, was held on the 7th of November, 2020.

In the keynote address titled “Distributed Technology for Green Economy Revitalization,” the Special Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker for the Session, Genevieve Leveille, explored on the significance of individuals and countries being bedrocks for upliftment of the agriculture sector to grow economies and the impact of Distributed Ledger Technologies in increasing effectiveness and ease of agricultural operations. She highlighted the activities of her organization, AgriLedger, in providing services to farmers by using new technologies to simplify and ease agricultural processes. She also mentioned that DLTs has potentials of increasing profits, ensuring food sustainability, implementing automation and uplifting farmers towards driving innovation in the agriculture sector.

For the Platform Presentations segment, Ismail Waziri Gombe, who serves as Secure Agric (Agrikoin)’s CEO, stipulated the operations of his organization in building sustainable agricultural platforms and aiding farmers in the financial transactions relating to their businesses. He highlighted his platform’s collaborations and partnerships with the Bank of Agriculture in developing strategies towards effective distribution of farm products to farmers in developing farmlands. He stated that blockchain helps in driving accountability amongst participants in the agriculture industry towards driving development in the sector.

In the GEORA platform presentation, Birdie Ohlsson explained how the platform agri-supply chains by using disruptive technologies in driving sustainable development in agriculture. She stated that the platform works with farmers, industry bodies and financiers in providing financial solutions in the sector. She mentioned that DLTs and blockchain has helped its users ease their operations in the agriculture sector towards ensuring proper record keeping and accountability in the sector.

Cassiano Peres, Brexbit’s Co-Founder, explained that the platform provides modern solutions to the lack of validity for data, lack of transparency in information and the hitches in bureaucracy in the agriculture sector. He stated that the platform uses Ethereum Smart Contracts in creating versatility and laying foundations for blockchain technologies for users in providing security, accountability and transparency in the records of farmers. He mentioned that disruptive technologies hold the potentials in driving information security and transparency in the agriculture sector.

In the GH Blockchain platform presentation, Hilina Damte stated the platform’s quest in digitizing and revolutionizing trade, especially in the agriculture sector. She emphasized that inefficiency, lack of visibility, data management and barriers to finance affects farmers in productivity and her startup is focused in solving these problems and providing solutions to these hitches. She explained that the organization is committed to “solving inefficiencies and building transparency in the export sector using blockchain technology for payments, tracking and smart contracts.”

Panel session on the roles Blockchain can play in the Agriculture industry

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The combined panel session explored issues in the fundraising and blockchain sector. The Panelists featured professionals from the sector including Genevieve Leveille, Hilina Damte, Cassiano Peres and Birdie Ohlsson who all delved on emerging issues relating the disruptive technologies and blockchain in the agriculture sector and the viability of blockchain in driving innovation in agriculture towards collective development.

Birdie Ohlsson argued that the pandemic period is a moment of re-evaluation of policies in place in the agriculture sector to allow for disruptive technologies to drive growth in the industry. She stated that agricultural supply chains could utilize blockchain technologies in certifying assets and creating transparent registries that would go a long way in creating credible records for businesses of farmers. She also mentioned privacy poses a challenge to records in agricultural industries and urges industries to invest in securities and encryption to keep their records safe and unbreached.

She stated that accessibility to the internet is a challenge to the adoption of blockchain technology and urges platforms to use techniques that would lessen this inconvenience and improve better in Internet connectivity. She emphasized that tech providers should orientate farmers with value statements on why they should adopt blockchain to their businesses and they should also ensure that they serve up to the quality of services they claim to provide.

Cassiano Peres mentioned that territorial and infrastructural differences could either pose challenges or potentials to the application of new technologies or solutions to agricultural processes and called for proper evaluation of policies before the adoption of blockchain technology to agriculture. He advised that platforms should adopt strategies to trace data and products to allow for ease in the oversight of processes in the agriculture sector.

Hilina Damte examined agricultural practices in Ethiopia and mentioned that new technologies would go a long way in facilitating cooperation between farmers and consumers and creating a future workforce where there is integrity and transparency in the data driving the markets. She argued that farmers should be on the frontlines to enable end-to-end visibility that would drive development in agri-businesses and supply chains, going a long way in making these technologies work. 

She mentioned that blockchain and distributed ledgers, being booming technologies, would improve accessibility to data and posited that government regulations not caring up to new innovations may be a big drawback to the adoption of blockchain technology to the agriculture sector. She submitted that African industries hold promise in the drive for innovation in the agricultural sector.

Genevieve Leveille posited that there is an opportunity to adopt blockchain solutions to the sector in promoting transparency in agricultural processes to improve data security and record integrity of farm records. She stated that she believes in collaboration amongst participating parties as blockchain allows the participation of diverse parties to achieve fair outcomes. She mentioned that trust should be created to enable participation and seamless adoption of the blockchain and new technologies in agriculture.

Ms. Leveille stated that the adoption of AI technologies would create an opportunity in understanding what the demands and shortages are and would be able to drive intelligence and productivity in agricultural processes that would drastically decrease loss. 

The speakers and panelists explored strategies and policies to ensure agriculture blockchain applications and the prospects of blockchain technology in driving innovation and development in the agriculture sector and in agricultural industries.

The African Blockchain Developers Call virtual weekend series is still ongoing. You can register via this link: https://bgeg.floor.bz/

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