Agriculture 4.0- Possible Transformation in FPO-based Agribusiness Models with Blockchain Technology

To address the farmer crisis, GoI took a step forward and revitalized the Farmer Producer Organization/Companies (FPOs/FPCs) model to escalate the Indian farming sector to a higher level. The FPO model comes with crucial policies that are focused to unite the farmers in an inclusive manner for collective development by addressing the production and selling issues they are dealing with. Agriculture 4.0 needs no introduction, it is the next big thing and the trending focus that promotes efficient agriculture, internet of things (IoT), and data utilization to deliver greater profit and sustainability during the growing concerns of rapid population increase and resource scarcity. Use of sensors, ICT, machine learning, and AI are the components of next-gen smart agriculture.

A major challenge in FPO based agribusiness segment is the requirement of secured facility to manage and utilize the generated data i.e. smart data management. Conventional data management systems are exposed to imperfect data, data deformation, and susceptible to unwanted customization. Government and private agencies related to the agricultural sector often restrict data access and transparency for making decisions of their own interest. However, agriculture 4.0 has the solution in terms of blockchain technology that can help the FPOs to collectively address the ongoing issues of data management, traceability, customer satisfaction, and transparency across the supply chain. A comprehensive structure to integrate agriculture 4.0 into FPO operations has been illustrated (Fig. 1).

Blockchain as a service often takes the help of “BaaS” (Blockchain-as-a-Service) tools and techniques. That involves users with cloud-based solutions for building, hosting, operating blockchain applications. BaaS service providers maintain and operate the entire infrastructure with little hassle to the users. The end users are equipped with digital platforms to access information of different tiers. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon run their own facilities as BaaS by providing “Ethereum blockchain-as-a-service” and “Amazon Managed Blockchain” respectively for easy construction and operation of networks. These standards are now easily available that promote investments in various service sectors like Agriculture.
The blockchain technology can store information of individual players in a supply chain from farm to fork. Blockchain provides transparency of information to all the stakeholders and the data recorded are not available for anyone to edit. The data recorded at every stage is verified by the specified FPO entity in a given network that promotes agreement among the stakeholders. As one block undergoes verification, it is fed to the chain of transactions to ultimately form a non-customizable fixed record.

-Mr. Anirban Nandy, ARF Group Member

Figure 1 Agriculture 4.0 integrating to FPO operations [Author’s compilation]