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Brazilian State Launches Blockchain Platform for Government Contract Bids

The Brazilian state of Bahia announced an agriculturally-focused blockchain app, designed to make bidding for government contracts transparent.

In Brazil, the state of Bahia has launched a blockchain application to track the process of public bidding on government contracts, according to a report by Cointelegraph Brazil on July 12.

The blockchain-based solution, called Online Bid Solution (SOL) was reportedly developed by Cayenne Technology and Design. Bids will reportedly be completely transparent and secure due with the application of blockchain tech.

According to Bahia government, the intended beneficiaries of SOL appear to be the Brazilian agriculture industry. The solution is designed to help connect agriculture organizations in Bahia with suppliers and workers throughout Brazil, as well as provide transparency on the contract bidding process.The state of Bahia said that there are over 1,000 organizations projected to use SOL:

“The application, already available in the Play Store and the Apple Store, will be used by about 1,100 agricultural associations and cooperatives in the states of Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte, under the Bahia Productive and Governo Cidadão, financed through a loan agreement between the state governments and the World Bank.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Brazilian coffee farming cooperative Minasul announced plans to issue a blockchain token for coffee farmers. Farmers will reportedly be able to earn tokens as a reward for harvesting coffee beans, and use the proceeds to purchase a variety of goods. This is purportedly a useful economic system for the farmers, since this method of financing does not require registration in a notary’s office.

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Brazilian Coffee Farming Cooperative to Issue a Coffee-Backed Token

Brazilian coffee farming cooperative Minasul plans to issue a coffee-backed token.

Brazilian coffee farming cooperative Minasul plans to issue a coffee-backed token, Bloomberg reported on July 11.

According to Bloomberg, Minasul’s president Jose Marcos Magalhaes declared at the Global Coffee Forum in Campinas that Minasul intends to launch the token this month. Farmers will reportedly be able to use the coin to buy fertilizer, machinery and other non-farm products — including cars and food — in a digital marketplace.

Per the report, farmers will also be able to acquire the token in exchange for current and future coffee beans production: 30% of the current harvest, 20% of the next crop, and 10% of the following season are eligible for exchange. Magalhaes allegedly explained that such a financing mechanism will reduce operating costs for both the cooperative and the farmers, since it won’t require registration through a notary’s office.

The project is part of a broader digitization effort by the Minasul cooperative, which is also looking to allow farmers to sell their harvest directly from their smartphones. Lastly, Bloomberg claims that Minasul, based in the state of Minas Gerais, is one of Brazil’s largest arabica-coffee cooperatives, Brazil being the world’s single largest coffee exporter.

As Cointelegraph reported in June, Microsoft has registered a suite of applications in Brazil that are designed to improve efficiency in the agriculture sector.

Earlier this month, Decentralized insuretech firm Etherisc launched a blockchain-based insurance platform for farmers in Sri Lanka.

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Oracle and World Bee Project to Track Honey Sustainability on Blockchain

Oracle has announced that it is continuing its partnership with the World Bee Project to track honey sustainability through the supply chain.

Tech giant Oracle and the World Bee Project are developing a blockchain-based sustainability assurance system for honey on the supply chain, according to a report by Ledger Insights on July 5.

The honey-tracing blockchain will reportedly be developed on the Oracle Blockchain Platform. According to the report, this partnership aims to launch a “BeeMark” label, which is a purported guarantee that so-labeled honey comes from ecological and sustainable sources. 

In addition to blockchain technology, BeeMark also plans to make use of data science to monitor environmental factors pertaining to the bees’ surroundings. Oracle also plans to install monitoring systems inside beehives globally, in order to track bee behavior and health. 

Oracle apparently has worked with WBP in the past to develop a blockchain-based solution that certifies honey as genuine. As per the report, this solution tracks information uploaded to the Oracle Blockchain Platform in order to ping modifications to honey along the supply chain.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits of supply chain tracking, the report notes that Oracle and WBP ultimately aim to research population decline in bees using these blockchain collaborations. As per the report, bee decline poses a risk for the future of agriculture.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, food retail giant Nestlé has partnered with the blockchain platform OpenSC to implement supply chain tracking. Nestlé also partnered with IBM’s blockchain network Food Trust in April, another blockchain-based produce tracking initiative.

Walmart China also recently unveiled a partnership with VeChain to track produce via the latter’s Thor blockchain. According to VeChain, a significant portion of Walmart China’s produce will now be tracked:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

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Exclusive: Microsoft Registers Blockchain and AI Platform for Agriculture in Brazil

Microsoft’s technology, known as FarmBeats, uses blockchain, drones and AI to improve productivity and reduce water consumption on farms.

Microsoft has registered a suite of applications in Brazil that are designed to improve efficiency in the agriculture sector, according to an exclusive report by Cointelegraph Brazil on June 6.

The technology, known as FarmBeats, uses blockchain, drones, IoTartificial intelligence and big data to improve productivity. It has already been rolled out on farms in the United StatesIndiaNew Zealand and Kenya, achieving a 30% reduction in water consumption.

Ranveer Chandra, the scientist who created FarmBeats, recently said that the agriculture sector had been left behind by the benefits big data, AI and blockchain can bring — even claiming that hunting had seen more digital transformation despite being a smaller industry. He told business and economy magazine Epoca Negocios:

“Brazil is one of the first countries that comes to mind when we think of agriculture. We developed FarmBeats so that its technology could be applied here and in other developing countries.”

The technology is regarded as crucial as farmers struggle to make a living while competing with a changing climate and growing demand for produce, Epoca Negocios writes. Chandra explains that production needs to increase by 70% in the next 30 years if global food requirements are going to be met.

The scientist has called on Brazil’s government to embrace the technology and subsidize it in a similar way to farming equipment and fertilizer. Besides helping farmers use resources more effectively, FarmBeats claims it can enhance accuracy and yield by delivering vital statistics about the temperature, moisture and nutrients in the soil.

Microsoft has made several forays into the blockchain world of late. Last month, the United States giant released the new Azure Blockchain Development Kit for the Ethereum blockchain — aiding developers who are building apps on the network.

Also in May, the company announced it was building a decentralized identity network using the Bitcoin network known as the Identity Overlay Network (ION.)

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Medici-Backed Blockchain Agricultural Project Now in Use in Mexico

The Mexican state of Tamaulipas is using GrainChain’s blockchain and IoT software for tracking major grains.

Blockchain-powered agricultural project GrainChain has partnered with the Mexican state of Tamaulipas to expand its grain tracking service in the country, Forbes reports May 2.

According to the report, the Tamaulipas government is now using GrainChain’s software for tracking major grains such as sorghum, soybean and corn.

Implementing GrainChain’s blockchain-enabled tracking tools is expected to bring more transparency in the grain supply chain by automating data records and providing more clarity to the way grain is traced from the field to the end marketplace.

GrainChain’s software can purportedly verify the authenticity of the grain and identify its source. Combined with Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the application of blockchain tech will purportedly provide more precise tracking of data and reliability for the commodity, as well as accelerate various processes. GrainChain CEO Luis Macias said that the firm’s software will greatly improve grain settlement times.

Founded in 2003, GrainChain’s financial settlement system allows producers, buyers and sellers to use smart contracts in grain transaction processes. In late 2018, Overstock-owned blockchain venture capital firm Medici Ventures purchased $2.5 million in equity in GrainChain, acquiring 10% of the company.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that the World Economic Forum (WEF) teamed up with more than 100 global supply chain and logistics leaders to standardize blockchain applications in the industry.

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Bayer’s Agricultural Division Partners With ConsenSys-Backed Startup BlockApps

Bayer CropScience, an agricultural arm of Bayer pharma giant giant, has worked with ConsenSys-backed startup BlockApps since 2018.

The agricultural division of pharmaceutical and life science giant Bayer AG, Bayer CropScience, is collaborating with ConsenSys-backed Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) startup BlockApps. BlockApps revealed the news to Cointelegraph on March 22.

Germany-based Bayer CropScience has been working on a number of blockchain initiatives with BlockApps since early 2018, a BlockApps spokesperson told Cointelegraph.

One of the largest pharmaceutical firms globally, Bayer acquired American agrochemical and agricultural corporation Monsanto in June 2018.

A BlockApps representative said that more details can be expected during Blockchain for Food and Beverage Supply Chain conference that is set to take place on March 26–27 in San Francisco.

The BlockApps platform aims to provide an interoperable platform for programmable business networks. Founded in 2015, Blockapps Strato was formed from a partnership between ConsenSys and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform in order to build Ethereum (ETH) BaaS on Azure for enterprise clients and developers.

BlockApps is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative. By July 2017, the EEA incorporated more than 150 blockchain start-ups, research groups, and Fortune 500 companies, including JPMorgan and Cisco. BlockApps claims to be the first blockchain company that partnered with all major cloud platforms including Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.

Recently, Colorado representatives and senators filed a bill proposing a study of blockchain use in agriculture. The document proposed the establishment of a blockchain advisory group, and specified potential use cases including product tracking, inventory management and monitoring of in-field conditions.

Earlier in March, Cointelegraph reported that the Malaysian state of Penang was considering the use of blockchain technology in food and agricultural products supply chains to improve traceability.

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Colorado: Bipartisan Bill Proposes Study of Blockchain in Agriculture

The official legislation portal of Colorado reveals that a bill proposing a study of blockchain use in agriculture has been introduced.

The official Colorado legislation portal reveals that a bipartisan bill proposing a study of blockchain use in agriculture has been introduced on March 15.

The bill, jointly filed by four Colorado representative and senators, proposes that the commissioner of the department of agriculture should assemble an advisory group to study blockchain application in the industry. The document also specifies some potential use cases that should be studied, including end product tracking, inventory management and monitoring of in-field conditions.

Moreover, the proposed regulation also suggests researching blockchain systems for equipment records storage, data verification and certification of organic products, as well as input resources tracking. Lastly, the document also considers the use of blockchain for asset exchange systems, including payments for sales and storage of products.

Per the bill, the advisory group would have to report the feasibility of the applications and its recommendations by Jan. 15 next year.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Malaysian state of Penang is also considering the use of blockchain technology in food and agricultural products supply chains.

Also, in February, French President Emmanuel Macron advocated the use of blockchain to innovate supply chain management in the European agriculture industry when speaking at the 56th International Agriculture Fair in Paris.

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Malaysian State to Launch Blockchain Solution to Track Agricultural Products, Says Official

Malaysian official reveals that one of the country’s states is eyeing launching a blockchain platform for the needs of the agriculture industry.

The Malaysian state of Penang is considering the use of blockchain technology in food and agricultural products supply chains, local English-language newspaper The Star reports on March 1.

According to the country’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Sim Tze Tzin, cited by the newspaper, the technology can be used for various applications in the industry. For instance, consumers would be able to track the origins of a particular product they purchase by scanning codes. Additionally, the industry can quickly warn consumers about the outbreaks of dangerous foodborne diseases.

The minister also stated that the key advantage of using blockchain is that the data stored on a decentralized network cannot be altered. Moreover, Sim believes that blockchain helps to improve security, reduce operational costs and bypass middlemen.

The Malaysian official did not set a specific time frame for launching the supply chain solution, nor did he reveal whether the country is going to collaborate with crypto or blockchain startups to develop the decentralized ecosystem.

Cointelegraph previously reported that both France and China are also considering implementing blockchain in agriculture on the state level.

This week, French president Emmanuel Macron called for unity among European nations in the agricultural industry to counter competition from global markets in China, Russia and the United States. He mentioned blockchain as an innovative tool that would allow traders across the EU to work in a more effective and transparent way.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has recently issued a paper titled “Guiding Opinions on Rural Service Revitalization of Financial Services,” which, in part, claims that blockchain could help the country “improve the identification, monitoring, early warning, and disposal levels of agricultural credit risks.”

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IBM Research Teams up With Agritech Firm to Boost African Agribusiness with Blockchain

IBM Research has teamed up with U.S.-based agritech firm Hello Tractor to boost the African agriculture industry with blockchain.

IBM Research has teamed up with United States-based agriculture tech firm Hello Tractor to boost the African agriculture industry with blockchain. The partnership was described in a Dec. 11 blog post on IBM’s official website.

According to the post, the IBM Research division in Kenya is working with Hello Tractor’s developers in order to apply various tools and technologies, including blockchain, to the Hello Tractor mobile platform that enables farmers to access tractor services on demand.

Specifically, IBM Research scientists will incorporate blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to Hello Tractor’s tool platform. IBM Research also intends to integrate the platform with its own cloud solution IBM Cloud, as well as Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, a jointly developed agribusiness tool based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The new jointly developed platform will reportedly represent an “agriculture digital wallet” featuring a blockchain-based AI platform that will provide a high level of transparency of  instantly shared data between all parties involved in a certain agribusiness value chain.

In particular, the pilot is expected to address to a wide range of processes in the agriculture industry, such as crop yield prediction by farmers, fleet utilization management and predictive maintenance, and compilation of credit portfolio for farmers and tractor owners by banks, as well as investment and regulation processes by governments.

According to IBM, less than 20 percent of crops are managed by tractors and other machinery in sub-Saharan Africa to date, while food demand is constantly increasing due to population growth averaging 11 million per year. Moreover, around 50 percent of farmers face significant harvest losses each year, which is caused by poor planting practices.

Last week, Overstock.com’s blockchain venture wing Medici Ventures bought $2.5 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain, which enables supply chain parties to track the distribution process of harvests.

Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government signed a MOU with crypto startup Cardano (ADA) in order to apply blockchain technology to the country’s agritech industry.