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USDA Plans To Boost Organic Product Supply Chain With Blockchain


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently given out a proposal. This proposal regards the amendment of the rules regarding organic products. The plan is to include the implementation of blockchain technology in order to trace its supply chain.

Growing Need For DLT

A report made by the USDA on the 5th of August, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) stated that it fully expects that electronic tracking systems will serve as a pivotal role in supply chain traceability for organic products. This includes, of course, digital ledger technology, or DLT.

The report described DLT as a means to provide verifiable, secure, and transparent tracking at a near-instantaneous level for an item within a complex supply chain. The report further highlighted how DLT could automatically restrict sensitive information to the respective authorized entities. This would, in turn, protect trade secret and confidential business information from the world at large.

Still Infantile Technology

Even so, the USDA made it clear that the use of such an emergent technology as DLT will need a lot more time and development. This must be done in order for a system to be viable for being implemented across the entire organic food industry.

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The proposed amendment explained that connectivity in rural areas, access to connectivity and technology, the distribution of costs all contribute to its lack of acceptance. Alongside this, there lacks a universal electronic standard to enact interoperability, which must first be hammered out. This must be done in order to break down the barriers for an electronic tracking system to find widespread adoption.

Many Innovations For The Future

The USDA didn’t drop any name of an entity within the blockchain technology space. However, the agency did cite a number of pilot programs as reference. Nestlé, a food retail giant based in Switzerland, is currently testing a public blockchain for its milk supply chain. Walmart, in turn, is leveraging blockchain traceability systems regarding pork and mangos. Bumble Bee Foods, a seafood firm based in the US, is currently monitoring its supply chain for yellowfin tuna, coming from Indonesia.

As it stands now, the USDA isn’t mandating any business, individual, or organization from participating within the global organic agricultural product supply chain to be certified under its program. However, they are allowed to review and submit comments about the matter until the 5th of October, 2020.

The world is slowly starting to accept blockchain technology as a whole. It’ll only be a matter of time when this technology becomes the norm, instead of an innovation.

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