From farmers through to manufacturers and distributors, food products go through many stages before they get to consumers’ plates. Along the way, the food supply chain faces issues like disease, illegal production, waste, unfair trading practices and more.
This may result in foods becoming unsafe to consume, and in businesses losing money. Inefficiencies in the food supply chain pose both financial and health risks.
There is one way to resolve these inefficiencies. With the transparency and traceability provided by blockchain, stakeholders have access to a platform with the potential to solve the biggest food supply chain problems and ensure food safety.
The food supply chain faces a number of difficulties including:
In light of the inefficiencies in the food supply chain, a blockchain capable of being regulated can replace the current system to become an ideal, universal food supply chain.
Stakeholders such as farmers, manufacturers, distributors and consumers will have access to traceability features, which will ensure total transparency. Furthermore, regulated blockchain allows governments and relevant agencies to regulate food quality and control food supply.
A regulated blockchain works on the premise that all stakeholders have access to all relevant data on the blockchain. There is also a consensus mechanism that helps to authenticate information added to the blockchain. Once information is added to a block, it’s impossible for any party to change the information in the previous blocks, making the system immutable.
For instance, a regulated blockchain-based food supply chain starts with the farmers who cultivate crops.
Farmers will enter information about their cultivation process, fertilisers used and other processes relevant to the crop quality. From these pieces of information, manufacturers can decide whether the crops are suitable for processing.
Once a manufacturer decides to buy from the farmer, the payment is sent immediately. With the use of a smart contract (transaction protocol that automatically executes contracts based on its terms) on the blockchain, a manufacturer can set conditions on the quality and quantity of crops or livestock.
When the farmer meets these conditions, their payment is automatically triggered. As a result, foodborne diseases can be reduced in crops and livestock, which are the main source of these diseases.
Once delivered, the crops go through various production processes to become a final product. After production, the manufacturer will enter data about the production process into the blockchain.
At this point, wholesalers can see the information about the crop and manufacturing processes. This will inform the wholesalers’ decision to purchase the product.
If the wholesaler decides to buy the product, it will go through transportation. With IoT-enabled vehicles or trucks, food items can be kept safe under controlled temperature. The vehicle could send the storage and transportation temperature and real-time location to the blockchain. This will also reduce theft or food substitution during transport.
When wholesalers receive the food products, they can add those items to their catalogue. Since wholesalers can trace the product based on the manufacturer’s or transport company’s data in the blockchain, it’s difficult for illegal food products to get into the food supply chain. A wholesaler can then sell these products on to both retailers and or directly to consumers.
When consumers buy the food products, they can use the product ID to track the products’ journey from the farm to the store. Apart from the consumer, other parties such as the government and manufacturers have better traceability and can promote the security of and easily manage risks in the supply chain.
Since businesses might be reluctant to reveal all the information about their products to all parties on the blockchain, they can choose to reveal only the relevant information, through the product’s public ID. In case of theft or contamination, businesses can create smart contracts that will reveal more details to any subsequent investigation.
By using regulated blockchain for the food supply chain, governments can regulate the food sector more effectively. With full access to all data on the blockchain, governments can ensure that farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers and other stakeholders adhere to government-defined food safety rules and guidelines.
Furthermore, farmers can improve their processes, manufacturers can increase revenue, wholesalers can increase consumers’ trust, and consumers can eat better food for better health. Overall, it’s a win for all parties.
The cost of an inefficient food supply chain is high for all stakeholders. With farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers and consumers looking for a more efficient food supply chain, regulated blockchain can bring this to reality.
L3COS, the world’s first quantum-safe blockchain operating system, has all the features (regulation, immutability, smart contracts, public keys, high scalability) that make it effective for hosting an efficient food supply chain.
Contact us today to see how L3COS’ features can host the ideal food supply chain.