The UN projects that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will cause global agricultural production to rise 69% between 2010 and 2050. With a third of all food produced wasted every year according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, with the right planning mechanisms in place to ensure more sustainable food distribution we can cut down on this waste. There are three critical areas that must be addressed collectively if we are to tackle the problems with our food chains effectively.
Apples from New Zealand, Blueberries from Peru; fruits of the world found in supermarkets across Europe. Our food chain supply is broken, can blockchain technology help us fix it? The short answer is no. Not if we continue to ignore seasonal changes in food production. Not if we don’t educate each other about seasonal varieties of food. Not if we are focused on fast access and high turnover products. If we want a more positive future, then full pictures of our food distribution systems are required and yes, blockchain technology can be utilised in assisting this mission.
The UN projects that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will cause global agricultural production to rise 69% between 2010 and 2050. The agricultural sector is one of the largest contributors to methane and carbon dioxide emissions and our eating habits have a direct impact on global issues such as hunger and climate change. With a third of all food produced wasted every year according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, with the right planning mechanisms in place to ensure more sustainable food distribution we can cut down on this waste.
Just the other day a man pointed out that one of the local supermarkets was selling apples from New Zealand. Who cares I hear you say? Well although New Zealand is a fantastic country, it is over 26 hours away from this supermarket here in Ireland and we have apples of every variety growing around us at this time of the year. So why is it that we shop fruit from far-off places when it is available in the field next door? These are the questions that we need to start asking and answering.
If we are ever going to tackle climate change we must assess the way we consume and how our behaviour is affecting the natural cycle of production around us.
Blockchain technology can help to provide up-to-date information to food producers and consumers, allowing for more opportunities to address food limitations and demand in local markets.
Many people talk about transparency when it comes to Blockchain applications. However, it’s the divisibility and transferability that make it interesting for supply chain networks. If we have the ability to harness blockchain technology to make informed decisions related to food division, both producers and consumers can be rewarded. When the data flows correctly the consumer should receive the foods that are in demand and the producer can farm crops that will yield efficient returns at the right time of the year.
There are three critical areas that must be addressed collectively if we are to tackle the problems with our food chains effectively.
It is our responsibility to the broader economy to develop frameworks aligned with our environmental commitments. Governments need to incentivise farmers to shape local food systems and incentivise large food corporations and popular grocery chains to buy locally, buy consciously and stock their shelves with a sustainable-first approach.
Policies already exist so there are no excuses for not doing the research. France has shown leadership here with an ambitious public policy including a commitment to agroecology by 2025 where food production models change to It introduced legislation in 2016 requiring supermarkets to redistribute leftover food.
Technological innovation in farming is being pushed forward with smart agricultural practices and high-tech machines providing farming solutions. With blockchain technology, farmers can gather data about their crops and feed it into the blockchain. It would seem likely that this storage of information will be increasingly used to inform future food distribution policy and investment.
Harnessing the power of technology will transform future food systems and supplies. We are already seeing this with some innovative blockchain projects. Grain Discovery is creating a digital ecosystem focusing on price discovery and traceability, Geoblocs is a unique project focused on mapping natural biodiversity, harnessing the power of collective and Regen Network provides economic benefits to farmers who drive regenerative land management. Tracking and delivering innovative land-use projects will play a key role in the future of our food systems.
The last and crucial component if we want to tackle the issue of sustainable food production is delivering impact investment that helps drive the innovation forward. Capital is required to support the above projects but also to demonstrate the value of investing in sustainable technology and infrastructure.
The above three areas are an approach outlined in ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’; “Markets, technology, and policy are like three levers we need to pull in order to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. We need to pull all three of them at the same time, in the same direction.” Bill Gates.
Without carefully stored data it is impossible to assess the level of demand for certain foods in certain locations. A recent article highlighted a massive oversupply of hemp products in Nevada, forcing farmers to scale back in a saturated marketplace. To ensure sustainable production blockchain technology can be utilised to provide a proactive approach to using real-time data on food supplies.
The future of eating is a more conscious approach, considering the broader implications of our food supplies on global issues such as climate change and hunger. Through rigorous evaluation and a commitment to the advancements in blockchain technology, food distribution can strive to be more sustainable.
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