Oxfam has launched a pilot project in Cambodia to help rice farmers receive their fair share using blockchain technology. Blockchain for Livelihoods from Organic Cambodian Rice, or Blocrice, will analyze and test how 50 farmers can be made responsible for having updated information and distribution of value in their supply chain.
The Oxfam Blockchain project could disrupt Cambodia's economy
In the northern province of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, the pilot digitizes and logs contracts between farmers 'and exporters' cooperatives on the blockchain platform, including details like the primary purchase price, the volume of trade and the method of transport. Cashless payments to farmers will be processed through bank accounts, so that they can be registered.
Blocking intends to restore the bargaining power to farmers in order to create fairer agreements with intermediaries, traders and companies on price and other conditions. Cambodia's economy is still heavily dependent on agriculture, with 60% of the country's hard working labor force in agriculture, most of which low-income workers carrying high-interest loans .
Solinn Lim, National Director of Oxfam in Cambodia, says the collective bargaining power promised to 50 rice farmers will help shift transportation costs to buyers.
"The mere fact of being registered as an actor on the blockchain platform implies that people count." Blocrice will give them a platform to empower themselves. "
Running until March 2019 to sell rice harvested in the rainy season, could soon expand into other provinces and also into other products, such as cassava, cashews, corn and pepper. Blocric is ready to introduce traceability, transparency, financial literacy and best practices in agriculture in Cambodia, demonstrating that blockchain is able to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of ordinary people working offline. Given that most of the population works in agriculture and Oxfam expects to expand the project across the country and the sector, Cambodia will have to face serious social and economic problems.
Kann Kunthy, managing director of the AmruRice rice exporter, said the pilot is also likely to help export Cambodian rice to Western markets, as the Blocrice system allows retailers to access information on the blockchain, including the origin of rice and the prices paid to farmers.
The project is aimed primarily at the European market, the final destination of almost half of Cambodia's rice exports. Trade relations have been put under pressure as a result of concerns over human rights violations in the country and fraudulent elections in July. Blockchain can help alleviate the concerns of the European Commission in the rice supply chain. One day it could also be used to bring transparency to the elections.
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