Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has announced a partnership with the municipal government of the Chinese city of Wuchang to launch a blockchain-as-a-service application that tracks the production, quality, and shipping of rice, according to an August 28 article in Chinese news-outlet tech.huanqiu.
Wuchang reportedly grows some of the best rice in the country. However, in the past few years, there have been news reports that shipments of Wuchang rice have been blended with lower quality rice.
To combat this counterfeiting of food, every bag of Wuchang rice will be given a unique identification code. Consumers will be able to scan this code using an app on their smartphone, at which point they will be able to pay for their rice. They will also see the specific field their rice came from, as well as the seeds and fertilizers used to grow the rice, thereby (hopefully) ensuring the quality of the rice from "field to table."
Additionally, Wuchang hopes that by implementing blockchain technology it can shorten the delivery time from 3-7 days down to under two days.
Although this may be a first for the Wuchang rice industry, blockchain technology has been used to track the quality of food in the past. In September 2016, ETHNews reported that supply chain company Provenance ran a trial using "mobile blockchain technology" to track the quality of seafood in Indonesia. In March 2017, Alibaba teamed up with the Australian postal corporation and Blackmores, a natural health company, to employ blockchain technology to fight counterfeit food sales in China. In July of this year, the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) completed a successful trial using a blockchain platform to monitor regulatory compliance in a cattle slaughterhouse.