Organic Rice Farmers to Use Technology for Fair Prices
Farmer is drying and blowing their rice after harvesting to clean their rice seed. Photo: Oxfam
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This year, Oxfam launched Blockchain for Livelihood from Organic Cambodian Rice (BlocRice), the first pilot project in Cambodia using blockchain technology to connect a network of people in the rice supply chain to ensure farmers are better and more fairly paid.
Fifty small-scale organic rice farmers in Preah Vihear Province are already on board! The goal is to promote a “smart contract”, a three-way digital contract farming agreement between organic farmers, rice exporter and buyers in the Netherlands. “Farmers thus gain collective bargaining power since agricultural cooperatives will be parties to the contracts,” said Solinn Lim, country director of Oxfam in Cambodia.
Blockchain—A secured, decentralised database using cryptography
The project registers all components in the supply chain with unique identification codes on a blockchain. It then introduces a smart contract between all parties. When the produce is delivered, the acceptance will be digitally recorded and payment will be digitally transferred to agricultural cooperatives who will then transfer payment into the farmers’ personal bank accounts with a local bank.
The web-based application focuses on transparency and traceability and enables all parties to digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation and performance of a contract. All stakeholders involved can access information on the supply chain in their shared database, from planting to the manufacture of rice products.
Bringing best practices to Cambodia
Farmers have registered their profiles and farming data, such as planting areas and expected yields, into the web-based BlocRice system. Their average land size is between one to two hectares and they produce around 2.5 to 3 tonnes of organic rice per year.
"The sheer fact of being registered as an actor on the blockchain platform implies that people matter", said Solinn Lim, country director of Oxfam in Cambodia. "BlocRice will give them a platform to empower themselves."
Blockchain for Livelihoods from Organic Cambodian Rice, or BlocRice, is being implemented from April 2018 to March 2019. If successful, the project aims to be expanded to other provinces as well as others crops.