On 26 August 2020, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and CropData Technology launched their joint venture project ‘Agriota E-Marketplace.’ The blockchain-based e-marketplace will act as an agricultural commodity trading and sourcing platform, connecting India’s rural farmers and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) food industry. DMCC, a Dubai government authority, provides a free trade zone, while CropData Technology is an Indian company dedicated to connecting Indian farmers to fair markets and essential services.
Agriota allows Indian farmers to directly connect with actors in the UAE’s food industry, such as food processing companies, traders, and wholesalers. This reduces the role of intermediaries, making the supply chain and traceability efforts more efficient. Other services include accounting, contract, and regulatory compliance services. Agriota’s complete smart contract trading system will be powered by blockchain and claims to adhere to neutrality, traceability, and trust principles.
India is considered one of the world’s top producers of agricultural commodities, with technology expected to play a large role in the commodity trading market. According to the Business Standard, in 2019, the UAE threatened to lower agricultural imports from India over quality standard concerns. Overall exports to the UAE have indeed decreased over recent months, with agricultural exports declining by around 17.8%. In contrast, Indian exports to other regions rebounded after COVID-19 disruption.
The partnership between DMCC and CropData may help bring the relationship of agricultural commodity trading between the two countries back on track.
“The UAE has a significant history with India, and our agricultural commodities platform takes this symbiotic relationship even further, benefitting the millions of farmers throughout India whilst simultaneously providing greater food security for the UAE,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO and Executive Chairman of DMCC.
The benefits of blockchain for agribusiness in India have increasingly been realized. Like Agriota, the Coffee Board of India launched its blockchain-based coffee trading marketplace last year, targeting rural farmers. The purpose is to help them achieve fair prices and increased traceability while reducing intermediaries.
Focused more on traceability than commodity trading, Sahyadri Farmers Producer recently announced adopting a blockchain solution for end-to-end product traceability, providing consumers with data on produce harvest and quality. The Indian Government also recognizes the benefits of blockchain for rural farmer digital inclusion, partnering with AI and blockchain firm Agri10x to help farmers access Agri10x’s online marketplace.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest agribusiness traders have formed a company, Covantis, to adopt blockchain and other technologies in their supply chains.