Indian software company ByteAlly has partnered with Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity (BANA) to start testing a fish-focused blockchain food traceability program in Bangladesh.
Feed the Future is part of the U.S. government’s Hunger and Food Security Initiative, which works with countries around the world to fight poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The majority of the rural population of Bangladesh work in fisheries and the US government has to prioritized aquaculture value chains. BANA itself is a five-year project with an investment of $ 24.5 million by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
While Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing malnutrition and increasing overall GDP, the government of Bangladesh has found that 24% of the population still remain below the poverty line (around 38 million people). Nonetheless, investment in agricultural technology has a markedly positive impact, and the US government efforts work with public and private institutions to promote the development of agricultural technologies. At the same time, BANA Goals include increasing the productivity of aquaculture systems and strengthening aquaculture market systems. This is where the partnership between ByteAlly and BANA fits into.
The blockchain food traceability program is expected to begin in the first week of September, initially involving fish farms, hatcheries and nurseries in the Jessore district of Bangladesh. The second phase will target the market, such as distributors, processors and retailers.
The project uses blockchain for end-to-end tracing of a new variety of high-yielding carp. Carp itself is a major food fish in Bangladesh, and BANA has managed to develop a carp that can reach a salable size in 18 months, 25% faster than the usual 24 months. The goal now is to quickly bring these fish to the market. Using blockchain technology, BANA will track and trace the fish, thereby establishing trust, managing risk and ensuring the quality of the carp.
IBM’s Food Trust blockchain is used, which has already been deployed by several companies to trace various food products, from salmon and berries to olive oil. ByteAlly has built several aspects such as a cloud ERP to digitize the processes that will serve as the data source for blockchain downloads. He also developed an Android mobile application, an API compliant with GS1 EPCIS standards and the infrastructure to receive data from IoT sensors in the cloud.
If successful in its future phases and possible expansion, the program will benefit not only the stakeholders of the seafood and aquaculture market, but also the entire population in the fight against poverty and malnutrition throughout Bangladesh.