Using Blockchain to Bridge the Gap Between Food Wastage and Global Hunger
Almost 11 percent of the world’s population goes to sleep hungry. At the same time, 14 percent of all organic harvest is no longer fit for human consumption by the time it reaches the retail market. Effectively, we have food that goes to waste that could have been used to feed the hungry at no additional cost to manufacturers, consumers, or any intermediary. Forbes reports that using blockchain technology in the supply chain can reduce both global hunger and food wastage to a fraction of their current numbers, December 26, 2019.
Supply Chain Efficiency is the Real Value Prop
Wherever your political beliefs are rooted – either capitalism, socialism, or somewhere in between – it is tough to argue against the notion that a lot more needs to be done to reduce poverty and suffering. Food is a basic need for humans, making it central to the discussion of tackling poverty.
Now imagine if we could use a certain piece of technology that helps coordinate information between parties across the globe in real-time could be used to implement a FIFO (first-in, first-out) supply chain system to get food to end consumers before it expires or rots. Blockchain can be implemented and utilized straight from tracking the food that goes out to giving retailers an idea as to which packets of a product need to be pushed out first to reduce wastage.
Basically, blockchains will allow for granular insight into the food manufacturing process, giving every stakeholder in the system information regarding the freshness of food.
Eroding the Limits of Widespread Implementation
It isn’t that the current system is so archaic that nobody knows when food is going bad, or when it needs to be sent out. The real problem arises from the inefficiencies in coordinating this activity and implementing it in real-time. It takes a certain amount of time for intermediaries to figure out what needs to be sent first, and then to actually send it out. By the time that happens, it’s already too late for some of the food, leading to a degree of wastage.
Blockchains will give these middlemen the ability to directly route supply using FIFO across the chain. The time saved in this process is the sole reason it is used to improve the efficacy of supply chains.