South Korea To Track The Country’s Beef Supply Chain To Increase Transparency For Consumers
According to the Yonhap News agency, the South Korean government is looking to build a farm-to-fork beef supply chain tracking system based on blockchain technology.
The joint development is going to be undertaken by the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which have chosen the North Jeolla province for the testing ground.
As the article reports, the trial period was scheduled to start as soon as December, and after a brief testing period, the full-scale track and trace system will be implemented from January 2019.
This development comes a few weeks after the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced that it would require its leafy green suppliers to implement a blockchain system to track their supply chain.
Blockchain replacing a traditional paper-based system
Until now, South Korea’s beef supply chain data was recorded through paper-based certificate system, starting with veterinarians who medically examined and treated cattle, through slaughterhouses, to the packaging facilities, transport, and finally retailers.
However, that system has a major flaw as individuals doing the paperwork can be bribed to forge documents in order to let through beef of suspicious origin, or without the veterinarian’s assurance.
Blockchain technology, besides being highly automatized, offers irreversible system, where data which is once stored, cannot be erased or tampered with.
Combining that with digital devices which can be used to read data through the use of a simple QR code, we get a bulletproof track and trace system for keeping a close eye on beef from farm to fork.
A multi-beneficial system
South Korea’s new supply chains monitoring tech will bring many benefits to the entire ecosystem from farm to fork.
Besides reducing the possibility of falsifying documents and tampering with audits, the system will have the ability to cut down the cost of the whole certification process. A blockchain-based system won’t require as many employees to handle all the paperwork as many parts of the system will be automated through a series of smart contracts.
However, the most important benefit that blockchain will bring to the consumer in South Korea is in preventing diseases transient from cattle to human.
In the 1990s, the mad cow disease originated in Europe due to unchecked beef which was exported with falsified veterinarian documents, soon to be a thing of the past.
South Korea believes in blockchain technology
South Korea announced that it directed a portion of its $4.4 billion intended for eight critical sectors towards the development of blockchain-based solutions.
Furthermore, the country’s Ministry of Finance declared three months ago that they will be promoting blockchain technology development “to ensure data management security and boosting the sharing economy.”
Kim Dong-Yeon, South Koreas Minister of Finance, stated that the blockchain technology doesn’t lack the potential to change the world and become the cornerstone of the next industrial revolution.
In April this year, the same ministry appointed Kyobo Life Insurance firm to test the application of blockchain in paying out insurance claims.
Improving supply chains through the use of distributed ledger tech is a match made in heaven and many companies and token projects are taking full advantage. One such project is VeChain, which recently signed an important partnership with Norwegian shipping giant DNV GL.
This shows how the new technology can be and is integrated with other systems to achieve better results. South Korea has long been one of the most technologically advanced countries, and with this move, it shows the intent to stay that way.
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