Agriculture is one of the areas where blockchain technology could revolutionise by solving the existing problem of agri-product fraud, its traceability, price manipulation, and lack of customer trust in the product. Blockchain technology will bring drastic changes to the agriculture industry. Blockchain, coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT), is remodelling the food production industry. It is set to make farming a sustainable practice with a change in approach to optimise farming resources like water, labour and fertilisers. Farmers and other stakeholders will be able to improve the irrigation system on a timely basis with information like the quality of seed, and how crops are growing among other practices.
The insightful data should be stored on the blockchain to enable agriculture market participants such as growers, innovators, producers, service providers and retailers to access it transparently. With the availability of information to every agriculture market participant, bringing efficiency in crop or food production will become seamless. The application of blockchain technology can reduce material and monetary losses caused by human error. It will enable the automation of labour-intensive tasks, reducing wasted or improperly applied resources. This will further help in reducing fraud.
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As details are digitally linked to the food items within the blockchain, consumers can explore everything by back-tracing the supply chain. As blockchain brings transparency to the food supply chain ecosystem, it will be easier to determine when and how food has been contaminated. It can also facilitate buyers and sellers negotiating a fair price for a product. Mobile devices allow commodity purchasers to communicate directly with their suppliers and make payments. Blockchain technology has every element necessary to become a genuine problem-solver. In contrast, many existing technologies are either inadequate or prohibitively expensive.
It will act as a driver towards a transparent food supply chain, yet numerous barriers still exist, which hinder its broader adoption in agri-food systems. The barriers involve technical, policy, regulatory, and educational issues and misuse of blockchain technology since it could be easier to temper with.
As technology continues to advance, innovation potential is also increasing. Another piece of technology that is going to have an impact on the agriculture sector is ChatGPT. The introduction of powerful language models, ChatGPT, into farming operations is a game changer. ChatGPT can be used in agriculture to evaluate vast amounts of data, deliver insights, generate automated reports, and assist with better predictions. According to a report, the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India, intends to integrate ChatGPT with WhatsApp. This will help farmers learn and understand various government schemes and raise awareness. It will also assist farmers in receiving answers via voice notes and text, which will benefit farmers who are not comfortable with typing. However, the WhatsApp chatbot’s debut may take some time as ChatGPT currently relies on input in English, and support for local languages is limited.
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ChatGPT can monitor crops and livestock with sensors and cameras, allowing farmers to discover early signs of disease and take proactive measures to resolve concerns. ChatGPT may also be trained using massive amounts of agricultural data, including soil conditions, weather patterns, and pest control. Automation of manual tasks can further help save time and money. It can also aid in the optimisation of irrigation systems. Overall, it will play a crucial role in data analysis and prediction for quick decision-making.
The use of sophisticated and advanced technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, GPS technology and aerial images is the future of agriculture. These advanced devices and robotic systems will make farms more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.
Reimagining farming methods will be the key to helping the agriculture industry reduce its environmental impact while still increasing productivity.
(Sumit Sarabhai is the Business Head at TeamLease Services. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.)