It has been reported that Rob Allen, the Deputy Chair of Blockchain Australia, moderated the online panel discussion by discussing use-cases for blockchain within the supply chain sector to an audience of more than 150 attendees.
However, Allen set the scene by stating that verifying the authenticity of products claiming to be Australian-made in local and overseas markets is one of the largest challenges facing the country’s agricultural industry.
It has been analyzed that Australia is a major exporter of produce, National Blockchain Lead Chloe White from the Department of Industry explained, and the use of blockchain technology can provide a provenance solution to food and wine fraud, which costs Australia at least $1.7 billion annually.
This problem goes further than just Australia, principal at AgTech Capital Al Fullerton discussed, calling on his experiences throughout South-East Asia where food fraud, misrepresentation, and provenance traceability are real issues.
Allen said that recipients of Australian exports perceive their goods as being high quality, even though tactics may be used to reduce their quality before it reaches the end-consumer. These tactics might see a bottle of Australian water refilled and resold up to seven times throughout China, or oil sold “out the backdoor to smugglers” who water it down and resell it.
Likewise, blockchain can be used to increase the transparency and trustworthiness of the data aiding in product authentication.
Bridie Ohlsson, the CEO of Geora, explained that blockchain solutions also offer significant benefits and efficiency savings to the food and agricultural certification industries, which currently rely heavily on easily forged paper-based certificates, an agricultural blockchain platform.
Moreover, Olhsson said that many companies go through extensive and costly efforts to obtain food and agricultural certification, which will only give them a worthless piece of paper with ink on it. With blockchain technology, these certifications can be stored digitally greatly increasing their resilience to forgery and, in turn, their value.
The panel concluded that a lack of technological literacy is the largest barrier to the wider adoption of blockchain, with Civic Ledger’s CEO Katrina Donaghy explaining that most people have difficulty understanding blockchain technology, advocating educational initiatives designed to bolster the tech-literacy of Australians.
Also, the panel announced plans for Australia’s first blockchain-focused Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
The CRC has raised $60 million to be used to propel blockchain adoption through Australian startups, which includes a $25 million commitment from the Australian government.
Thus, the CRC is set to open in October 2021.