Thailand has been quite receptive to blockchain technology. Various government agencies in the nation have launched initiatives based on the blockchain. The latest government agency in the nation to announce a project based in the blockchain is the Trade Policy and Strategy Office. According to a report appearing in Nation Thailand, the agency will use the blockchain to help with rice traceability. The pilot project will later be expanded to cover other agricultural products.

Why Rice?

The reason why the agency chose rice is that it is the nation’s top agricultural export. According to the director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, the project would begin as soon as they received an operational budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The aim is to use the blockchain to trace jasmine rice produced in Thailand’s agricultural zones for export. TPSO is under the Commerce Department. It hopes to build confidence amongst buyers of Thai rice by proving its authenticity. This could help to lower rejection by foreign buyers. Additionally, it could help to end the practice of mixing high-quality jasmine rice from Thailand with lower quality rice from other regions of the world.

To actualize this project, the Commerce Department is engaged in talks with about 5000 rice growers from the Surin province. They will take part in this project after receiving training on how to use the blockchain-based platform. Based on how the pilot project pans out, the project could be expanded to incorporate other agricultural products from the rural areas of Thailand. As part of the project, cameras will be installed in rice fields to ensure that it is genuine organic rice. Certification for the harvested rice will be secured using blockchain technology.

Blockchain-Based Rice Traceability Programs

Rice is a staple food in many nations around the world. However, it only grows in a few regions of the world. This has made it a popular target for blockchain-based food traceability projects. The global rice market is worth about $450 billion. However, the rice market faces major hurdles such as inefficiencies resulting from paper-based transactions.

Another issue that the industry faces is the wide variety of rice strains. Currently, Basmati and Japonica have the largest share of the rice market. However, the practice of selling substandard rice is quite prevalent in the sector.

Various projects are attempting to resolve the issues facing the rice trade. One such project is being carried out by Fujitsu, which is developing a rice-trading platform for the Rice Exchange based in Switzerland. The platform will be based on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric platform. The Wuchang Municipal Government is also working with subsidiaries of Alibaba to create a solution for the authentication of Wuchang rice using the blockchain.

Cambodia is also using the blockchain for this purpose. Oxfam launched a blockchain project in the nation in 2018 that is designed to help farmers in the country to prove the authenticity of their organic rice. It will also be used to facilitate cashless payments.

Image Source: Flickr 

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