Do you know where the milk you drink comes from? Do those cows have a happy life or do they get sick often? What do they eat? Is the feed used produced in a sustainable manner? How much of the price you pay at the supermarket went to the farmer for his milk? All these questions relate to the problem of food traceability: knowing where the stuff we eat comes from, and what happened to it along its journey to the supermarket.
Keeping a public chain of transaction records
With ever rising prices of crypto-currencies, blockchain technology has become a popular name. At Connecterra, we are always on the lookout for new tools that will bring us closer to our vision of making agriculture more efficient. One of the use cases for blockchain is precisely that of keeping a public chain of transaction records, such as what we need for food traceability. Therefore, blockchain is a technology that we can potentially use as a component in our platform towards a solution.
So, how could we apply the principles behind the blockchain to the dairy industry? More importantly, could we use them in such a way that some value is clearly added to this industrial chain? How would such a future look like? Let’s have a look!
The dairy farmer
For a farmer using Connecterra’s Ida service, we can automatically add new blocks into the blockchain indicating how healthy your cows are. Furthermore, you could even decide what information you are willing to share with others, and what you are not. Afterwards, your milk meters or farm management software could give us the milk yield for those cows, generating a full profile of your cow within the blockchain. Up to this point, it is completely transparent to you. Once your milk is picked up by a truck, you can easily use an app to confirm the transaction between you and the distribution company. Cryptographic technology will ensure that this is done in a way that can be easily validated by third parties.
You walk into the supermarket and notice that some milk brands incorporate a QR code on their packaging. Curious about it, you take out your phone to read it, and it redirects you to a webpage where you can see all the information contained within the blockchain, as shown in the above image. Now you are able to get answers to questions that, as a conscious customer, might have a large impact on your purchasing choices:
- Where did this milk come from? Is it from a farm in the province where I live?
- Did the cows that produced my milk have any diseases? Was outdoor grazing allowed for these cows?
- From the price I am about to pay for this milk, how much did the farmer make out of it?
- Did producers run a milk analysis? If so, did anything strange come out of them?
- Was the cold chain kept properly during transportation? How old is this milk anyway?
Connecterra’s Technology Stack
Connecterra’s data platform is easily scalable to handle such volumes of data and transactions. By streaming our insights and behaviour data to our hosted blockchain, we can provide processors, transporters and consumers with the necessary trace of their food. This enables a fairer and more transparent value chain. The value created from this is directly aligned with our vision for a more sustainable and efficient agricultural industry.