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Glencore joins global agribusiness blockchain initiative

soya beans agribusiness

Today it was announced that Glencore Agriculture has joined a blockchain initiative started by four of the world’s largest agribusiness firms. Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus launched the consortium last year to modernize their processes with blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Glencore is the most high profile company to join since COFCO in January. Its agriculture business runs an international network processing products from origination, handling, transport, and processing to marketing. Glencore itself also focuses on mining and commodoties. The firm hopes to digitize its supply chain and commodity trading systems.

“We’ve been interested in the initiative from the very early days and we’re excited now to join as a full partner,” said Glencore Agriculture CEO David Mattiske.

“The digital platform this group intends to develop will leverage the newest technologies and has the potential to revolutionize our industry, making contract execution processes more efficient, more accurate and more transparent,” he continued.

Today’s release also reveals that the consortium is planning to launch its new platform in the second half of 2020. The firms haven’t decided on technology partners, such as a blockchain platform provider, but are “finalizing” their selection.

The group is currently exploring solutions for grain and oilseed post-trade processes and supply chain efficiency with technologies including blockchain and AI. A particular upcoming pilot focuses on managing the bulk transport of soybeans from Brazil to China. This pilot is of crucial timing with the current trade war.

“This effort is growing, and the reason is clear: we’re offering clear and tangible benefits for the industry, created by the industry,” read today’s joint statement from the member firms.

“Customers, partners and other industry participants appreciate both the potential that our platform offers, and the fact that we are partnering with them early in the process to ensure the entire industry’s needs are met.”

Glencore Agriculture is a leader in the sector with $12.6 billion in revenue and over 13,000 employees in 2017. Before that, in 2016, Glencore the mining conglomerate sold 40% of Glencore Agriculture to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPID) for $2.5 billion. This left Glencore with 49.9% of the company.

Company 2017 Revenue 2018 People
ADM $60.8 billion 31,300
Bunge $45.8 billion 31,000
Cargill $114.7 billion 155,000
LDC $18.8 billion 18,000
COFCO $34 billion 11,000
Glencore Agriculture $12.6 billion 13,000