Malaysia: Agro-Tech Firm Develops Blockchain Platform for Safer Food
STE Capital Limited, Malaysia’s home-grown agro-tech firm, has launched a blockchain platform to resolve the challenges faced in the Malaysia agriculture industry. This according to a press release published July 31, 2019, by Malaymail.
The Food Industry in Malaysia
Malaysia is a tropical land full of natural resources that add flavor and variety to the research, cultivation, and processing of foods. Nevertheless, during the process food fraud can take place at multiple points along the supply chain. This can include criminal activity such as mislabelling, substitution, counterfeiting, and adulteration of foods that lead to significant food safety risks, which in turn compromises the health of consumers.
For these reasons, food fraud presents major challenges for the food industry to protect brands and reputations, as well as minimizing risks for consumers. One of the novel anti-fraud technologies that the industry is increasingly turning to is blockchain; this is largely due to its permanent and tamper-proof digital ledger can be integrated with the supply chain process.
One of the latest solutions has been planted by DSTE Capital Limited, Malaysia’s home-grown agro-tech firm, which developed a blockchain platform named DSTE CHAIN to help businesses to track agricultural products while also improving transparency.
DSTE CHAIN aims to substitute the outdated and inefficient traditional systems used for food fraud detection by replacing them with advanced technologies such as distributed ledger technologies (DLT), Internet of Things (IoT), smart farming and other innovations.
According to DSTE chief financial officer Chin Kuen Liang, the DSTE CHAIN’s ecosystem is able to trace the production from farmers, plantations and logistics, to food processing, transportation, retail, and consumer. The company’s goal is to eliminate the element of trust within the process as much as possible leveraging on a system that will make the data immutable.
The platform was launched in Labuan last Sunday and will start to be deployed inside the facilities DSTE owns in the region like the durian farms in Telemong, pineapple farms in Kuala Krau and agro farms in Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
Is blockchain a real Solution?
Although using blockchain in supply chain and logistics is an exciting prospect, the technology presently lacks the maturity necessary to enable global deployment.
Very often managers are dazzled by the word blockchain, immediately associating transparency and immutability as base features of the technology. The problem is that applying the blockchain in this type of process involves entering data from agents that are outside the blockchain.
What happens if the information entered in a blockchain is false and also cannot be changed?
Poor data quality entered into the chain will result in inaccurate data assumptions in subsequent chains hence resulting in a complete disaster.
Moreover, solutions used by various multinationals are often private and centralized without any guarantee of data immutability. Effectively they are not too different from distributed databases.
At the moment it is difficult to ascertain if this type of solution is suitable for solving the transparency problem within supply chains. However, every trial and error can only help in discovering if blockchain technology can be used in this sector to the desired effect.