In the third and final blog post of our blockchain series, General Manager Leigh Roberts shares his thoughts on why blockchain would be difficult to implement for agriculture in the UK.
As can be seen from the examples in my previous blockchain post, the technology does fit the supply chain industry model well. However, in reality, deployment is very complex and requires a top-down, all-or-nothing approach.
Is blockchain implementation feasible in the UK agriculture industry?
The problem with getting blockchain off the ground in this sector as it stands is that there are lots of players and food producers operating independently. Industry-wide implementation of this new technology would require a big drive from the top of the food industry that could be pushed back through the supply chain.
However, it is debatable whether the UK agriculture industry is ready for wide-scale adoption of this new technology. For example, if we look at attempts in recent years to set up the digital eGrain passport system, the trials experienced various hurdles on both a technical and an organisation level. I believe that these difficulties would only be intensified with the implementation of blockchain.
Blockchain is a disruptive technology and as such may require a new startup to come along and build a suite of solutions to attempt to win a market share. Failing this, there is currently no incentive for industry players to invest in blockchain. The benefits simply don’t justify the cost when there are existing solutions such as those from Primetics that already offer an excellent degree of automation, transparency and effective information flow.
If anything, the best solution would be attempting to build a blockchain functionality into existing software solutions like those offered by Primetics, which are already proven and have been supporting the industry for over 25 years.
Other possibilities for blockchain
Perhaps a more feasible use of blockchain in the agriculture industry here would be as a distributed ledger for accounting. Monetary exchange is crucial in the industry and is an integral part of managing cash flow, profitability, margins and risk for agribusinesses. This type of application would mirror more closely existing blockchain applications and could therefore be easier to develop and implement in the agriculture industry.
Other, more distinct areas that could work well with blockchain include areas such as crop inputs and pesticides. It could also take off more in the veterinary/pet industry – the UK are a nation of dog and cat lovers and there is lots of money in this sector, which could be used towards investment in new blockchain technology.
I hope you’ve found our blockchain series interesting. Whilst blockchain is certainly an exciting and innovative now technology, I’m not convinced that it is the right fit for the UK agriculture industry at the moment. On the other hand, there are still fantastic opportunities for technology to really help UK agribusinesses grow and prosper – something which Primetics is proud to be at the forefront of.