Blockchain helps Taiwan’s rice farmers mitigate effects of climate change


KATHRIN HILLE: It’s
harvest time in Chihshang, in eastern Taiwan. Cut off by high mountains
from the industrialised west of the island, this valley is
known as Taiwan’s back garden. Local farmers work small
plots of land, often by hand. But hidden from view,
change is underway. [? Alting, ?] a
startup from Taipei, is trying to give
local rice farmers a boost by linking their
harvest to the web, using the internet of
things, and recording all the information with
blockchain technology. These sensors measure weather
patterns and chemical changes in the soil, and can also
allow consumers to watch, in real time, how
their rice is grown. [? Alting ?] placed a
set of sensors in one of Wei Jui-ting’s
fields in July. Mr Wei is shifting his father’s
rice fields to organic farming. He hopes full transparency
will give him an advantage. Blockchain is distributed
digital ledger that records and stores all the information. It is both open and secure. And linking Jui-ting’s
fields to the internet could achieve much more. When farmers bring their
rice to the local mill, the grain is hulled,
dried, and tested for moisture, protein content,
and potential pesticide residues. The increasingly
unpredictable climate has a big impact
on these elements. Chen Cheng-hung,
who runs the mill, believes that the data collected
from farmer’s fields will help. Mr Chen says that tiny sensors
will change the way farmers work. Once that is achieved,
the project’s backers believe wild swings in
agricultural commodity prices, created by natural disasters,
will be consigned to history. A stable price, despite
an unstable climate. A benefit to consumers
and farmers alike. [SOUNDS OF RUNNING WATER]

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