Implementing the Cardano Blockchain in Curbing Food Wastage in Africa
Agriculture is one of the biggest industries of the world, because war or no war, pandemic or not, people must eat. Thus, new inventions are made to optimize production and delivery in the agricultural industry. However, despite efforts to ensure a functional industry, about 14% of theworld’s fooddoes not get to the retail level. This means that tons of food get ruined either during storage or transportation thus not reaching the desired population. When we narrow this down to Africa, it is evident that amidst plenty, there is still a shortage where food is concerned. This is as a result of post-harvest losses. How can the Cardano blockchain aid in curbing food wastage and shortage in Africa?
It is common knowledge that the blockchain provides excellent solutions for the problem of supply chains across industries. The novel coronavirus has unveiled some of the issues enabling food wastage in Africa. The African agricultural system still depends largely on manpower instead of machines and the global lockdown caused a reduction in labour leading to pre-harvest challenges. When it was time for harvest as well, farmers are laden with the burden of transporting and storing the harvest. There is a shortage of storage facilities to preserve the products. To worsen the situation, there is also a shortage of manufacturing plants to convert these products from raw materials to finished goods.
In May, Nigerian Mango farmers had excess mangos on their hands with no means of transportation, storage or processing these fruits to reduce wastage. Since there is no means of transporting goods, there is a lag in the supply chain system as farmers cannot get their produce to the end consumers neither can they preserve these goods. Asides the challenges each country is facing with supplying agricultural produce, there is also the inter-country exportation that has also been held down due to the lack of storage facilities and transportation infrastructure.
Asides having to deal with food wastage from farm to commodity markets, farmers are compelled to sell their produce at give-away prices as they cannot preserve them. One of the reasons why the problem of food wastage is prevalent in Africa is the fact that some farm produce is seasonal and not produced all year round. So, farmers end up in the market with an excess supply of food produce and little or no means of preserving or processing them into alternative food sources. Hence, farmers end up having to sell off their goods so as to make their profits or even their capital back. This causes a discouragement to new entry into the agricultural industry.
What Role Can the Cardano Blockchain Play?
Cardano is the blockchain for Ada, ranked as the 10th cryptocurrency according to Coinmarketcap. Created to solve the blockchain trilemma and create a blockchain that is decentralized, scalable and secure. Cardano is a smart contract platform built on scientific philosophy and peer-reviewed academic research. Cardano is the first project to utilise Haskell and Plutus programming languages which enables its developers to contribute easily to its open-source code. The Cardano blockchain architecture makes it suitable for the African situation.
As a bid to spread its solutions to Africa, the Cardano Foundation started a move to build blockchain governance in the continent. The aim is to help the law-making bodies and policymakers in Africa future-proof the legislation and commercial standards for sustainable growth. To explain the vision of Cardano to Africa, Nathan Kaiser, the Chairperson of Cardano Foundation, says:
“Legislation is key to adoption and real use cases of blockchain. The Cardano Foundation is proud to be at the forefront of shaping blockchain-enabled sustainable growth in Africa. We are open to work with the continent’s countries to establish robust governance policies, assess existing laws and policies. Our aim is to help African nations to shape legislative and commercial standards while ensuring accountability, which in turn will create new jobs and ensure sustainable growth. Blockchain will afford African countries to diversify their economies and help the continent to increase its innovation and investment attractiveness.”
Steps to Solving Food Wastage in Africa
Seeing how the Africa ecosystem is laden with issues such as cross border issues, supply chain mismanagement and the likes, Cardano holds much promise for the continent. The following steps can be taken to curb food wastage in the continent.
Creating a Stable Distribution Chain Model
One of the biggest challenges the agricultural industry face is its supply chain. Food produce leaves the farm and follows a complicated chain before getting to the final consumers. By creating a tracking system that enables farmers to track food from the farm until it gets to retail, it will help farmers understand the amount of food wasted and means to curb it. By employing Cardano smart contracts, farmers can align with owners of storage facilities, manufacturers and transportation companies creating an ecosystem that enables individuals to invest in the agricultural system with ease. So, as the product leaves the farm, it goes to the storage facilities and tracking enables the farmer to know the quantity to go for processing and the quantity that gets to the market thereby curbing waste. The entire food production process will be inputted into a distributed ledger which enables auditability.
Transparency in Funding
Most often, it is difficult to get funding for farm projects, but by creating dapps on the Cardano blockchain, farmers can solicit for their funds directly and enhance performance. Using the ADA tokens, farmers can begin a crowdfunding model where investors can fund for farmers to get adequate transportation and storage facilities. This system can also work for those interested in building processing plants in Africa. With more processing plants, Africa can reduce waste and importation from other countries and improve the economy. Also, the Cardano blockchain can be used in enabling inter-country trades among African nations. It will enable them to transact using Ada cutting down the costs of having to convert to the USD.
The Cardano blockchain was created to handle millions of transactions securely and quickly as well as host mainstream applications. By applying the Cardano blockchain to curbing food wastage in Africa, the African government can reduce the loss of funds that wastage causes and improve the economy. Farmers are not left out as they get to sell their produce at the right price and benefit from the ecosystem. There will be an increase in production, the blockchain can be used to monitor the efficiency of systems and funding will be accessible. With a reduction in waste and an increment in production, African can export to the world and improve her economy.
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