Overcoming the inefficiency of supporting a plethora of blockchain solutions and the barriers to traceability.
Globally, consumers are becoming more discerning in their purchasing decisions and increasingly require assurance that goods being purchased have been produced to an approved standard (fit for purpose, desired quality, environmentally sustainable). Currently, traceability and provenance of products can be traced through technologies such as blockchain. However, the use of this technology is varied, with a number of barriers facing both producers and supply chain participants, including but not limited to; cost, feasibility, return on investment and the challenges of tracing a commodity through the entire supply chain. This is particularly challenging where:
- Produce is broken down into multiple products, e.g an animal carcass broken down into multiple cuts of meat
- When it is on-sold through a co-operative market arrangement
- When it becomes an ingredient to another product, e.g a single herb into mixed herbs or essential oils into cosmetic or cleaning products.
As a result of the issues listed above, product fraud is common and difficult to manage. Currently there are limited viable, cost effective solutions to track provenance and authenticity in these scenarios. Increasingly, this requires some form of verification system and process of data transfer to support the trace claims and to retain trust in products and systems.
Blockchain is a strong candidate to support product traceability, integrity and provenance enhancing food safety and reducing food fraud. Blockchain has the potential to positively benefit many Australian industries, particularly where a premium is sought (or a discount avoided) via attributes that differentiate the product from commodified versions – such as niche industries, clean/ green/ environmental credentials, Australian branding, provenance, quality, quality assurance.
Currently there are several competing blockchain solutions being evaluated in pilot programs. Each has its own process and therefore cost of implementation. For producers that operate more than one agricultural business this presents significant challenges. The problem extends further through the supply chain where participants (e.g. exporters, retailers) are handling multiple agricultural products requiring them to invest in multiple blockchain technologies.
The reduction in duplication required for multiple systems makes economic sense and use by multiple industries will build critical mass which is important to drive adoption momentum and develop the required support services.
AgriFutures Australia is seeking projects under this proposal to address the issues of multiple blockchain platforms for multicommodity producers as well as viable traceability methods that could be applied to AgriFutures’ levied, small and emerging industries, particularly those commodities at high risk of product fraud.
Potential projects include:
- An evaluation of Australian agricultural industries that would benefit from the availability of a single blockchain platform and their common requirements.
- An evaluation of existing blockchain solutions that are currently under development that would benefit Australian agricultural industries. Report on the stages of development, the similarities, the differences, flexibility, adaptability, setup costs, ongoing costs, ownership and payment management
- Evaluation of current opportunities and issues of reducing duplication by sharing one Australian blockchain platform – cost sharing, platform, privacy issues, payment along the supply chain, recall of product
- Global examples of traceability in a single commodity along the entire supply chain i.e where the commodity is broken down into smaller pieces or becomes an ingredient of another product, and an analysis of how this could be applied to AgriFutures’ levied, small and emerging industries, e.g Tea Tree Oil.
Proposals sought for up to $200,000 and 9 months in duration.