AI and blockchain in agriculture

02 Feb

Over the years, technology has reshaped farming, and technological advances have impacted the agriculture industry in a variety of ways. Agriculture is the mainstay occupation in countries around the world, and with a rising population, which according to UN projections will rise from 7.5 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050, there will be more pressure on land, as only an additional 4% of the land will come under cultivation by 2050. Farmers will have to do more with less as a result of this.

According to the same survey, food production will need to increase by 60% in order to feed an extra two billion people. Traditional methods, however, are insufficient to meet this enormous demand.

As a result, (artificial intelligence) AI and blockchain are becoming increasingly important in the agricultural industry's technological evolution. The goal is to increase global food production by 50% by 2050 in order to feed an additional two billion people. And it is here that AI-powered solutions will not only help farmers improve efficiencies, but will also improve crop quantity, quality, and ensure a faster time to market.

Artificial intelligence is based on the idea that human intelligence can be defined in such a way that a machine can easily mimic it and execute tasks ranging from the most basic to the most complex. Learning, reasoning, and perception are all goals of artificial intelligence.

The blockchain is a public ledger of accounts and transactions that all participants write and store. It promises a dependable source of truth about the state of farms, inventories, and contracts in agriculture, where gathering such information is frequently prohibitively expensive.

Blockchain technology can track the provenance of food, assisting in the creation of trustworthy food supply chains and the development of trust between producers and consumers. It facilitates the use of data-driven technologies to make farming smarter because it is a trusted method of storing data.

AI and its significance

There are some specific AI applications that can be extremely beneficial to agriculture. For instance, the soil and crop monitoring system, which helps the farmer to identify certain kinds of disease patterns in the crop and accordingly suggest remedial measures to overcome these issues.

Similarly, a large number of companies are coming into the field of predictive analysis to help producers make more informed and intelligent decisions based upon the data aggregation and its subsequent analysis. Some of the practical examples include image recognition in potatoes, smartweed control system, aiding the process of field notes with the language kit, and satellite-based prediction analysis.

All of these applications have the potential to change the face of agriculture, but the most critical issues preventing farmers from implementing these innovations is the cost factor and a lack of awareness. If government agencies and corporations can come together to provide affordable solutions in this regard, AI adoption can certainly enhance agriculture productivity many times over.

How can blockchain technology benefit agriculture?

The specific application of the blockchain in the agriculture industry pertains to the storage and distribution of data across the food supply chain. This is critical for the commercial success of the crops and ensuring that producers receive a fair price for all of their hard work and labor.

In contrast to centralized systems, information in blockchain technology is stored in blocks and distributed among participating nodes.

As the information becomes available for all the stakeholders involved in the specific food supply chain, it is far easier to enhance the efficiency and crop production as everybody will have the data and information required to do so.

Customers' growing concern about the quality and safety of consumables must be addressed in order to ensure the farming sector's financial viability. However, due to the complexity of the food industry's supply chain and distribution, it becomes extremely difficult for companies as well as consumers to keep track of the source or provenance of supplies.

AI and blockchain are taking root in the global agriculture industry

Smart robots and predictive analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI) complements agricultural IoT devices and further improves the growing and selling processes via predictive analytics. By combining historical information about weather patterns and crop performance with real-time data, these programs can assist farmers in determining which crops to grow and anticipating potential threats. The more information that’s collected, the more precise the insights producers will be able to glean about what’s happening with their crops and where they can optimize conditions.

Smart robots will almost certainly play a role as well. Companies are already developing robots that can analyze crops in the field to not only identify disease indicators but also to prune weak plants to give strong ones the space and resources they need to thrive. One American company anticipates that smart systems, such as the artificial intelligence programs it uses to capture images of tomatoes grown in its greenhouses, will eventually increase yields by 20%.

Blockchain equals better business

Because of its implications for creating secure, transparent records, blockchain technology is revolutionary. This ability will be incredibly valuable for the agriculture industry, where it can be used to establish smart contracts and track food from its origins to grocery stores.

An American company recently conducted a massive sale of 60,000 pounds of soybeans to a Chinese buyer all on blockchain. Agricultural deals of this scale often require a great deal of back-and-forth, with multiple agents and decision-makers involved in the trade. When such sales are conducted using pen and paper, the risk of mistakes and logistical delays is high.

Blockchain simplifies the process because everyone has access to the same information, such as receipts, letters of credit, and required certificates, which are all clearly and accurately stored for all parties to see. The businesses involved in the deal reported a fivefold reduction in time spent on the logistics of the agricultural commodity trade, which they claimed was the first to be completed via blockchain.

Blockchain may also help curb future food safety crises, such as the e.coli outbreak that caused people in many states to become sick after eating contaminated lettuce. Scientists struggled for at least two months to identify where the diseased crops came from, highlighting the need for better supply chain documentation and management throughout the industry.

Agricultural growers and their supply chain partners could easily identify where different crops originated and who was involved in growing and transporting them if crops were tracked on a blockchain.

A major American food seller found that blockchain programs allowed it to trace a piece of the produce’s origins in just over two seconds, compared to the nearly seven days it takes via more manual processes. Not only does blockchain's instantaneous nature appeal to consumers who are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, but it also has the potential to reduce and even halt widespread contamination outbreaks.

From a business standpoint, this means locating the source and acting precisely to resolve the issue, rather than sifting through disorganized data and incurring losses on food that was unnecessarily discarded or unsold as a result of the outbreak.

Blockchain and AI: Integrated Application for Agriculture Sector

With the help of IoT devices and AI technology, blockchain can easily track and process information related to food items right from their source to the end consumer. This will be very useful in spurring the faith of customers and enhancing the transparency of the whole supply chain in the long run.

In order to achieve optimum results, the collaboration of AI and blockchain is required. While the former technology will help in better prediction and field productivity, the latter will ensure that data is distributed in a transparent manner to evoke confidence and transparency in the system.

How can these technologies help farmers?

Usages of data and information are crucial for the agriculture sector to improve productivity and sustainability. Technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, AI have increased the effectiveness and efficiency of collecting, storing, analyzing and using data in the agriculture sector. There are many possible use cases that these technologies can deliver.

Some of them are:-

  1. Overseeing Farm Inventory:- Can use IoT and AI to determine and predict the condition of crop storage techniques so that crops can be prevented from post harvest losses.
  2. Enhancing Agricultural Supply Chain:- Can use blockchain to provide a transparent, immutable and easy-to-trace system for the farmers and different vendors.
  3. Farm Management Softwares:- A app to keep track of every necessary details of a farmer and provide better futuristic solutions to increase their profit by using AI and Data Science.
  4. Oversight And Payment Of Agricultural Subsidies:- Can use blockchain to implement payment gateway to avoid middlemen interaction.
  5. Fair Pricing:- Decentralised payment system, so that each and every farmer should get fair price for all the items.

Bottom line

The integration of AI with blockchain technology is required to reap maximum benefits in the agriculture sector. Both of these innovations can work in tandem and have the potential to provide enormous benefits to all parties involved in the process. Every stakeholder in the farm sector can benefit from the application of AI and blockchain in the farm sector, from producers to food processing companies, and from retailers to end-consumers.