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Livestock Traceability and its Blockchain Transformation

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Blockchain introduction

Blockchain is a digital technology that offer features such as decentralized, tamper-resistant digital ledger/distributed database that facilitates the secure and transparent recording, verification, and storage of information. It works through a network of computers or nodes, where every node has a copy of the entire chain of blocks. Each block contains a list of transactions or data, which, once added, becomes almost impossible to change or manipulate the information within. Blockchain’s immutability is enabled through cryptographic hashes and consensus algorithms. This technology has proved its eminence and is being implemented across multiple domains, not just solely in cryptocurrencies. Some examples are supply chain management, smart contracts, identity verification, and decentralized applications, thus revolutionizing industries with trust, efficiency, and accountability.

Scope of blockchain technology in existing livestock traceability system

Today, the integration of blockchain technology is also showing substantial impacts in solving a major issue of livestock traceability. Blockchain could be used to verify the quality and production claims of livestock products. Other additional tools are available, such as sensors, IoT (Internet of Things), AI, and machine learning that could be used along with blockchain for better streamlining of products.

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Livestock industry

Livestock-based products in the food industry constitute a large segment, encompassing 15% of the total agri-food trade industry worldwide. It covers all sorts of animal and bird breeding, including marine, land, or birds used for human consumption. Livestock products hold a dominant marketplace as animal-based food items have always been a substantial part of mainstream human diets across the globe. Thus, mass livestock farming is practiced.

In the past decade, global demand for food has increased significantly, raising concern for food quality and safety. As the food market has been causing major concern to public health in some past years, and government agencies are failing to regulate the industry and providing quality food with transparency of the “farm to plate” journey of food. Commercialization and competition between the companies providing food-based products is a major factor behind introducing lower quality, harmful products in the food industry as some companies are putting public health aside for their profit.

Livestock products require improved food quality, cold chain transit, and preservation for product safety.

Blockchain Livestock Traceability

Traceability is an effective method to ensure quality and track different stages of any product till it reaches the consumer. By combining traceability and blockchain, livestock traceability could be done in a more transparent & effective manner. Blockchain livestock traceability is a form of traceability of any livestock animal/product, which is tracked in every stage of its life cycle till it reaches its final stage. The traceability of livestock with blockchain includes leveraging blockchain technology’s immutable and transparent nature to create a comprehensive and trustworthy record of an animal’s journey throughout its life cycle. This is achieved by collecting and updating data with the help of different stakeholders such as farmers, contractor companies, regulatory bodies, veterinarians, and the packaging company of animal-based products.

Livestock traceability in blockchain means to use the blockchain technology to create a transparent and immutable record of data related to the movement, health, and origin of livestock throughout the supply chain. In this technique each animal is assigned a unique identifier, and valid data such as, birthdate, vaccinations, breed and movements are recorded as transactions on a blockchain. These transactions are initially verified and then added to the blockchain in a decentralized and consensus-driven form, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the information. This traceability system permit stakeholders, including farmers, veterinarians, regulators, and consumers, to access and verify the recorded data, promoting, transparency, accountability, and trust in the livestock industry. Livestock traceability using blockchain improves food safety, helps in disease outbreaks prevenention, permit compliance with regulations, supports ethical farming practices, and empowers consumers to take informed decisions about the origin and quality of the livestock products they consume.

Steps to implement blockchain in livestock traceability

A detailed explanation of how livestock traceability can be implemented using blockchain is here:

  1. Identification and Data Collection: A unique identifier is assigned to every animal, like an RFID tag or a QR code. Later on, the identifier is linked with a digital record keeping relevant information about the animal, including its breed, birthdate, health records, vaccinations, medications, and its movements between farms or facilities. This data is collected and updated at various stages of the animal’s life cycle by many stakeholders, such as farmers, veterinarians, and regulatory bodies.
  2. Blockchain Integration: The gathered data is then added as transactions on a blockchain network. These transactions depict specific events or changes in the animal’s status, such as its vaccination management or its movements between farms. The transactions are first grouped into blocks and then stored to the blockchain in a consecutive and immutable form, to ensure that the information stays unchanged or untampered.
  3. Accessibility and Transparency: Legit stakeholders, including farmers, veterinarians, regulatory agencies, and customers, can access the blockchain to get information about livestock. They could check the animal’s health data, breeding history, feeding routine, and other relevant details. This promotes transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain, permitting consumers to make informed choices and improving trust in the livestock industry.
  4. Verification and Consensus: The blockchain network consist of many nodes or participants who are responsible for confirming and validating the transactions. Consensus procedures like proof-of-work or proof-of-stake ensures that all network participants are following the agreement and maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the data recorded. This mechanism support in maintaining the traceability system’s integrity and trust.

By implementing blockchain-based traceability for livestock, the industry can achieve multiple huge benefits. Some of them are that it facilitates efficient and accurate tracking of animal health, reduces fraud and counterfeiting, helps prevent disease outbreaks such as epidemics, facilitates compliance with regulations, and ensures better food safety and quality. Furthermore, blockchain traceability could give valuable insights into the sustainability and ethical practices of livestock farming, increasing consumer confidence and promoting responsible supply chains.

Blockchain transforming the livestock industry

The livestock traceability blockchain can bring significant changes to the livestock industry. Here are some key ways in which it can transform the industry:

  1. Clear and Honest Information: Blockchain keeps a record of every phase in the livestock process, like breeding, treatment, and transit. Implanting this process makes it difficult for anybody to make false claims or cheat, as everything is transparent in this process and can be verified at any stage of the livestock lifecycle.
  2. Safer Food: Using blockchain makes it is easier to track animals’ lifecycle and health records. This helps us find and prevent diseases faster, which as a result keeps our food safer. If there’s any issue, with the help of the animal record, we can quickly figure out which products are affected by it and take action accordingly.
  3. Faster and Cheaper: Blockchain omits the need for paperwork and middlemen.. This approach makes things faster and saves money. Using Smart contracts enables us to automate tasks like payments and checks, which makes the whole process more efficient.
  4. Trust and Real Products: Customers could use blockchain to get all the information about the meat they buy, like the source of the food and how the animal was raised. This develops trust, and it helps us know if the product is authentic and meets our standards.
  5. Suitable for Animals and the Environment: Blockchain helps us see the impact of each step in the livestock process. This lets us find ways to improve and be more sustainable. We can also offer rewards to farmers who treat animals well.
  6. More Trade Opportunities: Blockchain makes rules and regulations simpler for trading livestock products worldwide. This means it produces more opportunities for farmers to sell their products in different countries, helping them grow their businesses.

Conclusion

In simple words, blockchain technology is helping traders in providing better quality, healthy & authentic products to customers by implementing traceability. Blockchain traceability is helping almost everyone in the industry in some way or other, whoever is part of a product’s whole lifecyclei.e., from the farmers to suppliers, contractors, regulatory agencies, stakeholders or the customers themselves. Blockchain in multiple sectors such as farming, livestock, supply chain, etc.

Implementing blockchain in livestock tracing helps us be honest, make food safer, work faster and cheaper , trust the products we buy, be kind to animals and the environment, and open up more trade opportunities. People worldwide are switching from traditional traceability to blockchain traceability as it is easier to implement and cost and time efficient compared to traditional traceability. That’s why it can potentially transform the industry’s traceability mechanism and so many people’s lives.

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Last modified on July 19th, 2023 at 10:13 am

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