Bitcoin and its underpinning technology can transform many business models. Even farmers can benefit from the introduction of these new technologies. Farmers focusing on cocoa harvests in Ghana are using such technology to make some intriguing changes to improve their day-to-day operations.
Cocoa Farmers and Bitcoin Technology
Cocoa farming is a rather common business practice in Ghana. The region is home to perfect conditions for growing this particular resource. With the influx of new technological developments, local farmers have come up with new ways to improve their earnings. Some of them even managed to nearly quadruple their yearly yield, which is rather impressive.
Domestic farmers have received a lot of help through OFIS. The Olan Farmer Information System is designed to make life easier for farmers while offering various quality of life improvements. Farmers are in direct contact with advisors which can advise them on specific events, such as alternate ways to deal with drought or disease. It is another way of connecting with the world outside of the farm. Unlike what some may think, doing so is not straightforward in Ghana and other African countries.
OFIS is a system powered by Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain. Through this technology, farm data is collected. Proprietary algorithms process this information to provide personalized recommendations to farmers. It is through this initiative some cocoa farmers have increased their yearly yield threefold or more. Furthermore, the apps developed by Olam allow for product tracking from harvest to the store. Farmers also receive real-time access to cocoa prices and complete trades online.
The Real Blockchain Use Cases
Transforming the lives of cocoa farmers is an ongoing process. One of the apps developed by Olam focuses on digital payments. Through this tool, farmers receive money from their sales directly into their mobile wallets. Removing the tedious banking process from the equation is beneficial to all parties involved. Plus, farmers also gain access to micro-loans and other services, perhaps for the first time as they may not have banking services available.
Despite real progress being made, there is still plenty of work ahead. Internet coverage in African countries remains hit-and-miss. As such, Olam needs to ensure its applications are text-messaging compatible first and foremost. Building the infrastructure for a digital supply ecosystem is another ongoing process in this part of the world.
Ghana is not the only region where farmers benefit from blockchain. Other parts of the world have seen an increase in blockchain usage. Real use cases for this technology are finally coming to market. It allows for fair pricing, a better understanding of the market, and better business conditions overall. One interesting feature to emerge is that farmers can use blockchain to sell directly to consumers, thus gaining far greater profit than they would from a supermarket. Both sides win as farmers get paid more while consumers actually pay less.
In the long run, blockchain can transform the entire concept of agriculture for the better. It will take a lot of time to fully tap into this potential, though.
Do you think blockchain technology will revolutionize the supply chain for farmers? Let us know in the comments below.
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