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Tracability applications with blockchain by Applifarm

Applifarm provides digital proof of animal welfare, grazing and GMO-free production

How can consumers - now in demand of high-quality, safe and responsible food - be reassured? The answer is the Blockchain, a new technology used to digitise, aggregate and inviolably store all the data attributed to a food product - from field to plate! This revolutionary approach makes the agrifood production chain completely transparent, at any time and at all levels.

Applifarm is a start-up based in Rennes, and is extremely sensitive to these new food trends. As such, it rolled out the very first operational blockchains in France, all revolving around #livestock farming. Applifarm’s solutions help guarantee grazing quality, animal welfare and GMO-free animal feed commitments. The situation is explained below by Xavier Wagner, Applifarm’s managing director.

Livestock farming data finally valued and used

“There is a huge amount of livestock farming data that isn’t always digitised and therefore not always entirely accessible. Our task here at AppliFarm has been to gather all this data within a nation-wide platform”. Xavier Wagner added: “This digital platform groups together and organises data into a system that is seen as more efficient for all sectors - upstream and downstream companies alike”.

How can the Blockchain ensure product traceability?

Gone are the days of paper files, recordings and hand-written notes which only lead to mistakes and time wasted. The blockchain technology draws data from its source and stores it indefinitely in a “shared registry” that is fully transparent and cannot be tampered with, for the benefit of the whole agricultural sector. This technology could in time serve as a replacement for the many specifications we have to deal with nowadays, that take up far too much space in current transformation and production chains...

What is the quality of the recorded data?

Livestock data is traced in the AppliFarm digital platform thanks to direct partnerships with upstream and downstream stakeholders within the animal production sector. They are in fact service providers for livestock farmers, and their data is brought forward with consent from the farmer in question: Bretagne Conseil Elevage Ouest, Eilyps, Cecab, Cogedis, Coop de Broons, Even, Evolution, GDS Bretagne, Néovia, Valorex: all these establishments chose to be part of a platform that recovers and uses their livestock farming data, via AppliFarm.

Upstream and downstream branches both have an interest in shared and digitalised proof

Founded in 2017 by eight agricultural companies, the start-up raised 1.1 million euros to help with its development. Based in the Village by CA, in Rennes, it now employees 9 people. Its goal: to make agricultural data accessible to all sectors (technical, zootechnical, health and economic data, to name a few kinds). Furthermore, as agriculture and livestock farming now use a growing number of sensors, connected objects and robots - both on crop equipment and animals - the sector offers increasingly reliable, accurate and vast data. We may as well use it!

What about farmer consent?

Nowadays, when a farmer commits to specifications, they sign them and record any data pertaining to them - most often by hand. Thanks to the Applifarm platform, the producer and/or transformer group gathers the farmer’s consent. Once this stage approved, the farmer no longer needs to enter data manually or store it in digital or paper files: it is directly integrated into the Applifarm platform. This obviously saves a great deal of time and reduces the risk of errors being made.

Food products: detecting an anomaly in just a few seconds

Recording data on Applifarm’s platform via the blockchain now opens up the perspective of ensuring traceability for all food products, at any time, and finding how and where it was produced and transformed in just a few seconds or minutes. Truly perfect for satisfying the needs of consumers looking for safe and quickly-available data. This means anomalies in food products can be detected much faster, and non-compliant batches can be accurately located and blocked from distribution in just a few minutes.

Applifarm provides “digital proof” of high-quality grazing

What kind of traceability does the Applifarm platform offer? Thanks to data digitalisation, and thus proof, Applifarm can now meet concrete consumer expectations. “Using connected tags around the cows’ necks, that locate the fields in which they graze, we can collect enough digital data to guarantee high-quality grazing.” Xavier Wagner adds: the number of actual pasture days, presence in grazing, pasture changes, etc.: all this digital proof is available via our platform. Without any effort required from the livestock farmer.

Applifarm, a digital guarantee for cattle welfare

Similarly, Applifarm can guarantee that the monitored farms comply with animal welfare requirements. “We gather farming data in line with around 52 indicators, corresponding to a sound, well-known repository selected by users to make sure animals are respected”. In the same way as for grazing, the data pertaining to animal welfare is integrated into the digital platform and accessible at all times by the sector’s stakeholders. This approach can also help detect potential areas for improvement and conduct continuous self-assessments. Applifarm’s animal welfare application is already operational for #dairy and #meat #cattle, and is well ahead of the market. It may even spread to other sectors...

Applifarm: digital proof of “GMO-free” animal feed

Another part of Applifarm’s operational application is the guarantee that monitored farms give their animals GMO-free feed. The digital proof provided goes from animal feed content delivered to the farm to checking which seeds are sown by farmers in their fields, etc. This digitalised proof is made possible thanks to the pooling of data providers: seed producers, cooperatives, feed manufacturers, premix manufacturers, etc.

Keeping your promises to customers

These three applications are currently operational. They are all extremely concrete, and showcase how important livestock farming data pooling is, and how it can be organised via the blockchain. Applifarm supports upstream and downstream livestock farming sectors in keeping their promises to consumers. There is nothing quite like this new form of proof: it is digital, cannot be tampered with, and available in real-time.