Decentralised Trust in Agri-Food Supply Chains - Tracelabs

Implementing blockchain technology to integrate data from stakeholders across the dairy and poultry supply chain to improve traceability of products.

 

Concept 

To demonstrate the value of data exchange between stakeholders along the supply chain, this Flagship Innovation Experiment (FIE) decentralises trust with the use of blockchain technology. By implementing and utilising origin trail protocols into complex supply chains in the dairy as well as poultry sector, the FIE proves the flexibility of their solution whilst at the same time gathering deeper insights into the specificities of both sectors.

In the poultry value chain, the objective was to show food provenance to the end consumers using trusted data, to emphasise local production as well as animal-friendly breeding practices, that result in higher quality meat for the consumers and a lower environmental impact. In the dairy value chain, the objective was to use the trusted data to optimize the payment process for the milk collected from the farmers by a farmers cooperative and then sold to a local dairy. In general dairy farmers deliver milk to cooperatives, and in return will receive payments depending on the volume provided, nutritional quality of the milk and specific contractual agreements between farmers and cooperatives. This FIE solution help to make this process more transparent and automatic.

Based on a lean multi-actor approach a panel of users - including farmers, food producers and consumers - validates the developed solution, provides consultation on the business models and engages all relevant actors in an efficient way. Therefore, crucial data from key stakeholders along the supply chain are integrated and verified with the aim of addressing the current lack of interoperability. As a result, an environment is established which provides additional value for the entire agri-food sector concerning the traceability of the products, their provenance and authenticity.

Implementation 

The technology for trusted data exchange has been deployed at 29 poultry farms working with Perutnina Ptuj in the poultry value chain. In the dairy value chain, the solution was deployed to make trusted payment calculations for 114 dairy farms providing milk to the KZ Šaleška dolina farmers cooperative.

On the poultry side, we were able to partner with one of the leading poultry producer in Europe, Perutnina Ptuj. The final solution is a web-based decentralized provenance application using the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN). The application includes metadata on all the farmers breeding poultry for Perutnina Ptuj’s (brand owner) Natur Premium line (a short description of the farm, its location, and a photo representing the farm) as well as metadata on Perutnina Ptuj as the food processor and brand owner. This metadata is paired with traceability information for each batch of poultry meat produced at Perutnina Ptuj’s facilities.

For the consumers to interact with the application, each product is equipped with a QR code, which can easily be scanned with any smartphone. Once a consumer scans the code, they are directed to a web-based interface where they are prompted to enter the expiration date of their product and the product LOT number indicated on the packaging. This prompts the application to present the information on the farm location, description, and the other data associated with the product. All of the information about the product can be verified by the consumers on the blockchain.

 

 

For the dairy value chain the final solution utilizes the same underlying OriginTrail technology to exchange and store data, paired with Hyperledger Fabric permissioned DLT network. 

Once the volume information and the laboratory information regarding the nutritional value of the milk get secured on the OriginTrail platform, the Oracle blockchain platform uses the OriginTrail knowledge graph to determine the payment due to the farmer and produces the payment file used by the cooperative finance system. For the cooperative, this allows to streamline the payment flow and limit manual input, while for the farmer payments are transparent and faster. 

 

Lessons Learnt

 

 

One of the key challenge is the current situation of business processes in the dairy and poultry sectors. Most of them are still paper-based, or relying on Excel sheets. This high-technology solution has to be integrated within existing business processes. Introducing new, cutting edge technologies to established businesses can be a lengthy process. Having clear value propositions and a partner that is open to innovation and ready to work closely with the developers on developing and/or modifying the solution (to provide input and feedback) are two important factors that help facilitate the uptake.

When setting up live data exchange, the main challenge was to ensure proper data privacy for the sensitive data while still enabling its use through the DLT-enabled infrastructure. This was especially important in the dairy case study where confidential contractual data was needed to make the automated payment calculations. To solve this challenge, we have been working on and have successfully developed additional functionalities to the OriginTrail Decentralized Knowledge Graph (DKG) to enable the use of both public and private subgraphs on the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN).