USDA Suggests the Use of Blockchain for Organic Product Supply Chain

The Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA thinks it will be better if DLT is incorporated into the supply chain business of organic products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is thinking of changing its mode of operation so as to enable it adopt blockchain technology in monitoring the delivery of its products.

The Agricultural Marketing Service arm of the USDA announced on August 5 that to deliver organic products more efficiently, it would be needful to employ the use of electronic tracking systems and digital ledger technology (DLT).

According to the report:

“DLT can provide secure, verifiable, transparent, and near-instantaneous tracking at the item level in complex supply chains.” It added: “Critically, DLT can also protect confidential business information and trade secret information by automatically restricting sensitive information to authorized entities.”

USDA didn’t disagree with the idea but it was concerned that not much can be done now because DLT is still in its early stage. It stated that it would still take some time to develop a system that uses DLT to do the needful in the organic food industry.

However, USDA will modify some its rules as the first step towards embracing blockchain. To this end, it came up with this:

“Barriers to widespread adoption of an electronic tracking system include inadequate access to technology and connectivity in rural areas, acceptance of universal electronic standards (interoperability), and distribution of costs.”

Other cases where supply chains were modified

Although the USDA didn’t specifically mention blockchain, it can be said it had this in mind because of the references made to other supply chain projects using blockchain such as Walmart for its mangoes and pork, Nestlé for its milk supply chain, Bumble Bee Foods for the supply of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia to the U.S.

The USDA requests all private and public companies that produce organic products in commercial amount to take a look at the rules it intends to run with and leave a feedback between now and October 5 for a possible implementation.

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