Blockchain technology is becoming part of a large-scale EU-funded project, intended to boost the digital transformation of the European countryside! OriginTrail (TRAC), a blockchain company developing data exchange protocol for interconnected supply chains, has become the go-to blockchain solution for 108 organizations, from 22 different European countries, involved in a SmartAgriHubs project, managed by Wageningen University & Research, the world’s leading provider of scientific education in the healthy food and living environment domain.
European Farming Sector Needs the Blockchain
By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. As a result, cities will, to an increasing degree, face issues concerning sustainability and quality of life. This will have an impact on food security, mobility and logistics, the availability of water, dealing with raw materials and waste, health, and well-being. The European Commission recognized the importance of facing this challenge by creating a competitive advantage for non-urban regions, including the initiatives connecting the countryside with the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
George Beers, Project Manager at Wageningen University & Research and SmartAgriHubs Project Coordinator: “SmartAgriHubs will not only increase the competitiveness and sustainability of Europe’s agri-food sector. It will become the 4th industrial revolution that will strategically re-orient the digital European agricultural innovation ecosystem towards excellence and success. Together with our partners we believe SmartAgriHubs will unlock the potential of digitization by creating a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs, organizing an inclusive ecosystem around them and fostering them to achieve their full innovation acceleration capacity.”
EUR 20 Million from the European Union to Develop and Stimulate the Adoption of the Technology
The project aims to involve 2 million European farms and introduce 80 new digital solutions onto the market. Digital Innovation Hubs are spread across the European Union with a regional approach, focused on 9 regional clusters, building a network covering all EU regions and connecting technology, business and industry-specific expertise with relevant players. The consortium consists mostly of small and medium enterprises, but also of consultancies and private banks rooted in agriculture. It also plans to involve the broader community, with activities such as hackathons and datathons.
Among other partners in the project are other R&D companies as well as public entities, such as UK’s Innovation for Agriculture, Schuttelaar & Partners, Austrian Chamber for Agriculture, French region of Loire, FIWARE.
Blockchain technology provided to partners via the OriginTrail protocol is the underlying technology for building trust in supply chains that SmartAgriHubs is addressing. The blockchain is bringing the decentralization of trust, through end-to-end visibility and better guarantees of integral quality and safety. It is also addressing European consumers’ needs for traceability and transparency.
With this undertaking, the results of OriginTrail’s pilot projects will be disseminated across the network of DIHs and beyond the agricultural sector. In the second stage, the consortium will also publish open calls for both private and public entities to utilize the technology on further use cases.
In the graphic below, you can see the main technological and consumer trends that are vital to the project, including robotics, biotechnology, IoT, machine learning and the blockchain.
Žiga Drev, Co-Founder of OriginTrail, on the importance of this achievement and acknowledgment: “OriginTrail’s team has been actively solving supply chain transparency and efficiency challenges since 2013. We have worked closely with farmers, producers, supply chain companies, and end consumers to fully understand what the challenges in food supply chains are. This approach was welcomed by stakeholders. We are proud that the European Commission appreciates these efforts, too. OriginTrail solutions have been presented to European Commission officials on several occasions, including the anti-counterfeit IoT traceability proof-of-concept and the Smart Villages initiative. The response was always encouraging. In association with the Wageningen University and the SmartAgriHubs project, we are making a significant step towards protocol adoption and will be working on tangible use cases.”
Key facts at a glance
- Instrument: Horizon 2020, DT-RUR-12-2-18: ICT Innovation for agriculture
- Contribution of the European Union: €20 million
- Duration: 4 years, 2018-2022
- Consortium: 108 initial partners, possibility to extend through open calls
- 140 digital innovation hubs, 9 regional cluster & 28 flagship innovation experiments
- Bridge public-private funding by mobilizing additional funding (30 M€)
- Strong focus on establishing a sustainable network of DIHs with viable business models and investment funds