Farmers in Tamil Nadu, as well as their counterparts in other states, will soon reap the benefits of blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning platform solutions.
Samunnati, a Chennai-based organization that works with Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and other agri-ecosystem players, has partnered with the University of Hyderabad (UoH) to introduce these deep technologies that promise to reduce operational inefficiencies.
For one thing, it ensures that credit is used properly. ‘If a token is issued to purchase seeds or fertilizers, the system will ensure that it is used for that purpose only and not for anything else,’ said Sridhar Easwaran, Samunnati’s Founding Member and Senior Vice-President (Institution and Capacity Building).
The integrated Agri blockchain, developed by the University of Hyderabad in collaboration with a few partners, can record every step in a product’s value chain.
‘The blockchain network platform can hook up farmers with all decision-makers in the ecosystem – from vendors, food processors, and packaging firms,’ said Vijaya Bhaskar, Professor of Finance and Fintech at the University of Hawaii.
‘It will enable buyers and sellers to communicate in a secure and trusted environment, removing the need for an intermediary,’ he explained.
According to Sridhar, Samunnati will assist FPOs in deploying the technology solution and onboarding their member-farmers onto the platform.
The project as a test
The platform would provide complete visibility of the number of farmers, as well as their credit and input requirements. ‘This would be very significant for people on the demand side (such as bulk buyers) and financial institutions,’ he said.
Several FPOs under the aegis of Social Education Economical Development Society (SEEDS) joined the blockchain platform in the pilot launched on August 15 in Virudhunagar District of Tamil Nadu.
Samunnati will roll out the technology in other states where it operates. ‘Our next stop will be in the Kamareddy district of Telangana,’ he explained.
He stated that the platform would aid in traceability by generating accurate data on farmers’ input needs.