When was the last time you scanned a code to purchase a product? What was the last item that you purchased? When did you last purchase meat? Did you scan it? Do you wonder where the goat or the chicken came from? Which breed it was? Where did it live and in what shed conditions? Was the goat administered with vaccines timely? What is the average weight gained by the goat? Is it a healthy goat? Do you know where the meat you buy in the nearby fresh house comes from? Would you not be interested in knowing what you are consuming?
Often as we go shopping, we see that the items we purchase have a barcode on them. It’s true that not always do we exactly know what information it contains because it’s the salesperson who actually scans it. Has it ever occurred to you that it hits you a little different level of satisfaction when you scan a code and you get access to all the information of that particular product? Well, to most of us it has. However, with that quick scan, we tend to believe that the product is authentic. We have been using the QR codes to make the online payments, to login to various systems from WiFi to the online games and to purchase various products as well.
What if today I say that you can purchase your goat by analyzing all the information that you need about the goat with just a scan? What if I tell you today that you can go to a market and purchase the goat after you’ve scanned the tag hung on its neck and with a separate QR code? Amused? Are you? Well, Heifer Nepal and eSatya are all set to bring you all the goats who have their own QR code that you can scan and get all the information about the goat you want.
Heifer International Nepal is an international NGO, operating since 1993 in Nepal with a mission to end poverty while caring for the earth by providing livestock- especially goat, dairy cattle, water buffalo and backyard poultry, education, and other resources by providing livestock, education, and other resources to help the poor families become self-reliant.
Heifer closely works with the Ministry of Agriculture, its departments and local bodies and aims to reduce the goat imports by 50% with the completion of the project. eSatya is a blockchain initiative by Rumsan Associates in Nepal that specializes in development, consulting and awareness. AgriClear, incubated by eSatya is a mobile-based system which helps in tracking good agricultural habits and practices from farm to finger using the distributed ledger technology. eSatya, AgriClear and Heifer have been working together to overcome the aforementioned barriers to ensure the transparency and the traceability in the goat supply chain while helping farmers to get the fair price by streamlining the supply chain that will reduce cost and support middlemen but encourage the retailers to come on board to make the supply easier.
eSatya has been associated with Heifer Nepal as eSatya through its blockchain based AgriClear system has designed the LSCMS product which stands for the Livestock Supply Chain Management System. LSCMS is an intuitive mobile-based, blockchain integrated data logging system that enables consumer interface, cooperative data management and reporting systems. We’re all aware of the features of blockchain.
Blockchain provides a single source of truth that is verifiable, tamper proof and unchangeable. Since every transaction is recorded on a block and across multiple copies of the ledger that are distributed over many nodes, it is highly transparent. Its also highly secure since every block linked to the one before it and after it. There is not one central authority over the blockchain, and it’s extremely efficient and scalable. Ultimately, blockchain can increase the efficiency and transparency of supply chains and positively impact everything from origin to transfer to retailer to delivery to consumers to payment.
Unlike other mobile based systems, LSCMS is simple to understand and easy to operate. For instance, Bhunte wants to buy a goat for the festivities. Bhunte can simply open “Camera” on his smartphone and scan the QR code hung on a goat’s neck. After he scans the code, a screen will popup that displays the goat’s picture and shed where it was reared and two options: Information and Journey. Under the information tab, he can view the following information- the goat’s weight, weighing date, age of the goat, origin of the goat, its breed, sex, type and the birth weight. Under Journey, he can view information about the breeding of the goat, whereabouts of the farm and the farmer and also the information to whom the goat was handed over.
While millions of rural farming families struggle to meet their everyday needs and become self-reliant, the country continues to import meat and milk products to satisfy the growing demand. Inefficient animal production system and an ineffective informal market system have been proven to be the significant barriers to meet the demand. Last Dashain, imports had fallen to nil after the government made it mandatory for traders to produce quarantine certificates while importing livestock from the southern neighbour. Although imports fell from India, adequate goats from Nepali farmers were supplied in the market which supported in fulfilling goat demand. In 2019, smallholder goat farmers sold 148,569 goats to the formal market out of which 47% (70,757 goats) were sold through cooperatives generating USD 12.6 million.
Food safety is a much underrated concern here in Nepal. There is no transparency in the food sector and mostly in the meat industry. In the fresh-house, we don’t know what kind of meat we have been provided with. But with organizations like Heifer and eSatya and blockchain based systems like LSCMS, we are able to choose and make an informed decision. It reduces transaction cost and enhances farmers bargaining power and profitability through goat farming. As this process enables transparency of the information, it also helps organize the middlemen which helps the farmer and the consumer set the right price.
Heifer Nepal has facilitated goat sales through several local cooperatives for many years and this year Heifer Nepal plans to sell 141,607 goats in Dashain alone. Channeling the goats to the market has been a big challenge and collective marketing through cooperatives with the blockchain technology has been a good solution so far.
So, aren’t you all set to buy a labelled goat? Don’t forget to get yourself a QR scanned goat this year! To learn more about blockchain basics, blockchain technology, uses of blockchain, blockchain products in Nepal, scan the code!
(Ms. Gyawali is an MBA student at school of management Tribhuwan University and has been associated with eSatya as a content writer.)