If you eat food and we know you 100% do – then you should be concerned about food security and food safety! While “Food Security” is about having food in the first place. “Food safety” is about not falling ill from it. When these critical topics for the food industry and humanity overall incorporate concepts such as decentralisation, blockchain technology and token-based economics – we can greatly improve the number of people getting food while also ensuring that it is indeed safe to eat!
I’ll explain why both institutions and consumers should be kicked about including Web3 to create and bolster more effective food security programs for the world.
Web3 is a game-changer for the global food industry
Data immutability is vital for improving food security and food safety. On a public blockchain, data can’t be changed once it is on the ledger. This means that if an error occurs in an open public blockchain, that error cannot be removed. Instead an additional transaction, correcting the error, can be added to the blockchain, giving more credibility to the data and data-monitoring in the network.
How does this help our food systems? One word stands out when we analyse the above – “Transparency”.
Open Public Blockchains, which I believe are the way forward for improving the veracity of our food supply, simply allow much more transparency and hence improve the overall integrity of our global food system. Private blockchains (which are presently the most prevalent in agrifood) by their very nature, limit decentralisation and interoperability – the agrifood industry is too wide and complex to function efficiently and safely through such limited structures.
Better governance is key for our food systems
As mentioned, most applications in agrifood are private or semi-private, limiting participation, scalability and interoperability, limiting the impact on food security. However, the solution is not a technical one, but one of governance – when the system is designed to be most transparent and fully honest, we can curb inefficiencies while still limiting/eliminating “bad actors” that currently hurt our food systems
Forrester EY reports in its decision-makers survey that as much as 75% of those in the agrifood industry would likely use a public blockchain in the future, and we at Open Food Chain definitely agree. Let’s delve into some of the central concepts that truly make the case for open public blockchains in agrifood:
An open public blockchain is governed by a process of rules that are agreed upon by all parties joining the network – nobody owns the blockchain and can take decisions on their own, or behind the scenes and this high level of transparency greatly helps the global food security agenda.
We want a maximum level of decentralisation so that entities can join on their own account, without ever having to wait for permission – this system is inherently trustworthy by design!
Food security requires scalable data infrastructures and today, an obstacle to scaling anything is pricing. Transaction costs, or “gas fees”, limit the scalability of blockchains and many pilots have come to a hold as a result. Food security needs an infrastructure that has no transaction fees and supports large-scale tracking. In Open Food Chain we designed an architecture that has no transaction costs – ensuring speed, efficiency and hence, scalability.
Open public blockchain solutions have better data interoperability than private blockchains, and this also greatly helps food security. Interoperability is key for tracking across different production lines and multi-ingredients. Most agrifood blockchain solutions presently track just one product across one supply chain, from farm level to fork – for example from orange to bottled orange juice.
But think of bread made of grains, palm oil and eggs. Would it not be more convenient and effective to track each ingredient, knowing each ingredient’s provenance and origins and allowing the exchange of information between parties involved? This is the new way of doing things we propose at Open Food Chain – an era of efficient interoperability on a transparent and globally connected open public blockchain.
To summarise, the world needs Open Public Food chains to improve food security and safety. Open Food Chain is on a mission to make this possible and enhance our existing food systems through decentralisation, scalability and interoperability. But for this to really work – we need the industry players, governments and most importantly, the average consumers to unite and support the implementation of Web3 in agrifood. With a global food crisis looming – the time is clearly now to give Web3 a shot at feeding us, safely.