By Didier Muyiramye (CTA), Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt (The New Fork), Chris Addison (CTA)
While the challenge of today’s agriculture remains as how to feed the world’s
population (which is expected to increase to more than 9 billion people in 2050),
there is at the same time a growing demand of sustainable food. On one hand,
statistics show that only 33% of consumers trust the food at their table. On the
other hand, farmers continue to give out lots of free data and never get back
profits. Can technology play a role in improving the consumers’ trust gap and
help farmers earn income from their data?
This is exactly what professionals from the agri-food and technology industries discussed
about during the first two events of the Strike Two Summit. Initiated by The Fork together
with several other key partners, Strike Summit is a series of three events (Consumer Trust, Farm Income – Chain Management) aimed at showcasing the role of blockchain
technology in improving transparency, traceability and circularity in global food systems.
Under the theme ‘’Consumer Trust’’ , this first event took place in Amsterdam on 19-20
September 2019 and brought together diverse stakeholders in the food industry to discuss
the role of technological solutions in winning consumers’ trust, a key ingredient in making
food value chains sustainable. Consumers are becoming more and more interested in
knowing the origin, safety and nutritional value of the food. Blockchain technologies are
facilitating this transition, incorporating more traceability and safety information in food
supply chains, to ensure consumers’ needs on the origin of food products as well as their
quality and safety standards are met.
This first event of the summit dug into the role of food traceability in improving Food
Quality, Food Safety and Food Circularity along the supply chain.
Food safety risks can originate from either the production, processing, storing or
distribution chains. From uncontrolled pesticide application, storing conditions or shelf life
of food products, consumers are more and more exposed to severe health risks. Food
Safety Track identified some of the key technological-based actions to focus on in
predicting which food products are safer to eat. Blockchain can be of help in detecting the
contaminated products and preventing their continued spread by geographically locating
how many remain at which stage of the supply chain. This can be possible only if data are
easily shared among supply chain actors.
Factors influencing food quality choices are many and include i.e.: changes in the flavour,
nutritional characteristics, appearance. There are several actions required to meet
consumers’ needs and they differ per food value chains. The Food Quality session focused
on plant, fish and meat.
• Food quality – Plant: To be able to produce and distribute food with the right quality
and freshness standards, farmers and sellers should know what consumer needs
are. There is therefore a need of improving knowledge of food producers in
recording and sharing data at production, processing, storing and distribution
stages to meet the market needs.
• Food Quality – Fish: Blockchain technologies can indirectly play a vital role in
regulating the fish industry, by tracking and labelling fishes caught from sustainable
• Food Quality – Meat: ScanTrust and Unilever showcased their Blockchain-based
solutions. By scanning QR codes using ScanTrust app, consumers can track the
quality of ingredients in Unilever’s Knorr soup products, made of pork-meat sourced
Circularity was also discussed as one of the sustainable solutions in effective use of
resources and food waste reduction. Again, technology makes it easier in making food
systems more circular: A blockchain case tracing key ingredients in the bread supply chain,
For more about the first event of the summit, you can read this article from EuroAfri Link.
Global food systems need to be re-organised to counteract the shrinking farm incomes.
This second event looked at three ways of increasing farm gains, driven by technological
solutions: the use of digital farmer identity in enabling the monetization and exchange of
data, the generation of new business models and the soil carbon sequestration practices.
Farm data has value for both farmers and companies, unfortunately farmers have been
always giving them away for free. Would it be possible for farmers to control and gain
profits from their farm data? Who is willing to buy? These were the key questions of this
track. To facilitate this transition, digital farmer identity is seen as an indispensable
foundation in increasing smallholder farmers’ income. The track participants endorsed a
pilot project (led by Bluenumber, a provider of Digital ID) aimed at profiling 20,000
smallholder palm oil farmers in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to monetize, exchange
valuable farmer data. The next move will be to develop a sustainable ‘’Farmer ID-based’’
business model that monetizes farmers data, starting with identifying who needs to sell
and who is interested in buying data. ‘’The Strike Two Summit was special because of the
networking opportunities it presented. There was a great mix of stakeholders present from
the agriculture and food supply chains. The content around farmer identity gives us hope
that there are many teams working to solve problems surrounding farmers and finding
more equitable uses of everyone’s data’’, Varun Baker, Farm Credibly
For more, click here to watch this Farm Identity track pitch and summaries
New Business Models
With a focus on building new effective financing models for sustainable food systems, this
track dug deep into the role of technologies in bridging finance solutions. A case of a dairy
cooperative was shared: To limit the expensive operating expenses, 21 dairy farmers are
now using a blockchain platform to make transactions cheaper. This platform also
facilitates equity sharing and co-financing.
For more, click here to watch this new business models track pitch and summaries
Carbon Neutral Farming
The goal of this session was to study how farmers’ income could be improved through soil
carbon sequestration systems. The increasing amount of CO2 released in the atmosphere
is a major contributor of greenhouse emissions and climate change. The released carbon
can be removed from the atmosphere and stored through a process known as carbon
sequestration. Sustainable farming practices have the potential to balance the atmospheric
carbon dioxide by storing it in agricultural soils. In this session, participants looked at how
farmers could be compensated for their efforts in increasing carbon storage in the soil.
Technologies like blockchain, IoT sensors were identified as potential solutions that would
facilitate the calculation and quantification of how much of carbon has been sequestrated
in the soil, through different practices. Farmers would then be rewarded and certified
depending on the levels of achievements. To achieve this, several key steps were identified
to move forward the market mechanism design (starting trial in Netherlands, and scale up
to other regions): carbon trading policies and regulations’ formulation, develop
technological solutions accordingly and increase consumer awareness on sustainable soil
and water management practices.