UNDP India’s Accelerator Lab and Spices Board India under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim to build a blockchain based traceability interface for Indian spices to enhance transparency in trading. UNDP India has independently secured support from The Cabinet Office of Japan for this initiative under the Japan SDGs Innovation Challenge.
Blockchain is a decentralized process of recording transactions on an open and shared electronic ledger. This allows for ease and transparency in data management across a complex network, including, farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers, thus simplifying the supply chain. This blockchain powered platform for Indian spices will enhance the quality assurance of agricultural export commodities.
One of the key beneficiaries of this initiative will be small farmers with potential doubling of income based on trading on this platform. It will also allow farmers just as all other members of the supply chain to access the information which further makes the entire supply chain more efficient and equitable.
The design of the Blockchain interface is expected to be completed by May 2021. The project will be piloted with over 3,000 farmers engaged in chilli farming in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. UNDP and Spices Board India is working towards integrating the Blockchain Traceability Interface with e-Spice Bazaar portal developed by Spices Board India for connecting spices farmers with markets.
Speaking on the collaboration, Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India, said, “Spice farmers are mostly small and marginal farmers. Despite India being the largest consumer and producer of spices, one of the major challenges they face is getting their due share of income owing to the lack of robust monitoring mechanisms that can ensure quality of spices at every stage of value chain. We are confident that the blockchain interface will help connect these farmers with international markets and add to their income. The technology can also help in rebuilding pandemic affected supply chains by providing trading partners and consumers with trusted and secured data on goods and transactions.”
D. Sathiyan, IFS, Secretary, Spices Board India on this joint initiative said, India is the largest exporter, producer and consumer of spices in the world. Spices exports during 2019-20 crossed a milestone of $3 billion. The changing order in the global spices and food sector has increased the relevance of infrastructure development for value addition, certification for quality and food safety, promotion of spices highlighting the immunity boosting properties, etc and the Board has been tirelessly working towards strengthening the Spices value chain in India. This UNDP-Spices Board joint initiative to build a blockchain-powered traceability interface for Indian spices is another significant milestone in our journey to make the spices value chain efficient, transparent and equitable for all stakeholders. We plan to integrate this blockchain based traceability interface with the e-spice bazaar portal already developed by the Board.