Advocates for poverty eradication Oxfam announced yesterday that it has launched its rice supply chain management platform BlocRice on the blockchain.
BlocRice, introduced in April, started out as a pilot program aiming to enhance the negotiation powers of organic rice farmers in Cambodia. The project was the first of its kind in the region, allowing farmers to interact with key players along the rice supply chain.
Country director of Oxfam Solinn Lim stated that “the aim is for BlocRice to gain acknowledgment from all relevant actors in the supply chain”.
With six actors identified in the rice value chain – the organic farmer, the agricultural cooperative, the export company, the import company (Europe), retailers, and consumers – Solinn envisages BlocRice as an ecosystem of farmers with a collective bargaining power. She said, “BlocRice will give farmers collective bargaining power since agricultural cooperatives will be parties to the contracts.”
Smart contracts will be the core technology to be leveraged upon here, which will be used to establish transparency and a coherent working protocol among farmers, exporters, and buyers.
Solinn added that all stakeholders would share a digital contract, sharing information on blockchain throughout the process, from planting to manufacture of rice crackers.
As records from 2017 reveal, Cambodian rice farmers are currently the ninth largest exporters of rice, however, applying blockchain technology could possibly improve the welfare of small-scale farmers, as well as scale up export activities of rice and other agricultural produce in Cambodia.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, an exporter in the value chain, commented on the BlocRice project: “…if it proves successful, however, it may be expanded to include all the communities currently working with Amru Rice and new products, such as organic cassava, pepper and cashew nuts.”
Further, interest from the Cambodians shows positive reception to the idea of contract farming and a desire for “financial literacy”.
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