Blockchain and disrupting the farm-to-consumer food chain

eHarvest Hub, a startup backed by one of the blockchain’s most famous investors in Tim Draper’s VenturesLab Fund is harnessing blockchain technology to improve the farm-to-consumer food-supply chain – cutting the cost of food to consumers, boosting prices to hard-pressed small farmers, and minimizing food waste. eHarvestHub will enable small farmers to sell directly to grocers from around the world.

Backed by Tim Draper’s VenturesLab Fund, the billionaire that bought Silk Road’s seized bitcoins from the US Government — eHarvestHub eliminates waste by speeding up the time it takes for food to arrive from farm to store. It also brings transparency to the food chain, allowing consumers to pinpoint exactly where their food came from and when it was grown.

A complex food chain

Struggling small farms across the world grow between 60% and 70% of the food we eat and independent owner/operator truckers move 90% of that production – yet these parties make the least profit.

Layers of middlemen and the big food conglomerates control the food supply chain because they can aggregate and arrange transport of food, leaving farmers and truckers isolated from the global food economy.

Consumers have little or no transparency about where their food comes from due to these multiple layers. And fraudulent food labeling is difficult to prevent as products from less desirable sources can be so easily added to safe product as it moves through the supply chain.

Meanwhile, because of the complex journey food takes, food waste costs the industry nearly one trillion dollars annually.

A smoother journey

eHarvestHub addresses these problems by bringing farmers, grocers, and truckers together in a virtual marketplace. The marketplace allows farmers to list their fresh produce and aggregates volume across multiple small farmers – essentially giving grocers one location to shop from and still meet their volume demand.

The marketplace gives farmers direct access to grocers both locally and abroad. Thanks to Blockchain technology at the heart of this marketplace, third parties are no longer needed to negotiate prices, organize distribution, or agree on transportation. After their food is sold, farmers can directly hire independent owner/operator truckers, much like UBER does with passengers and drivers.

As for grocers, with a click, they have direct access to a farmer’s inventory when sourcing fresh produce. Truckers, meanwhile, have a mobile app through which they can directly access loads without having to spend money or time on marketing. They get the opportunity to grow their business without the need of a broker.

eHarvestHub Founder and CEO Alvaro Ramirez said:

“The supply chain needs a radical change. It needs to be turned upside down. You must take care of the farmer and trucker first to radically decentralize the food chain. Blockchain is the perfect tech to change the food industry. In fact, it’s the only technology that can truly change the industry.”

Greater transparency

Blockchain’s timestamping of each event will help prevent food fraud by recording each party’s activities and making accessible all their required documentation.

Timestamping also helps to accurately forecast pickups and delivery times. This digital footprint provides grocers with the data they need to give consumers full transparency of their foods and quickly minimize the impact of contaminated fresh produce in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. A faster response can prevent people from getting sick or dying.