Agriculture on the Blockchain: Sustainable Solutions for Food, Farmers, and Financing

23 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 14 Jul 2018

See all articles by Henry Kim

Henry Kim

York University - Schulich School of Business

Marek Laskowski

York University; University of Guelph

Date Written: December 17, 2017


This research explores applications of blockchain across the agricultural sector, beyond the typical finance use cases. In considering agriculture itself as a chain, a network that reaches from farm to fork, we analyze blockchain efforts to improve safety, efficiency, and accountability at every stage of the process.

Provenance tracking or traceability across the various stages of the global food supply chain ensures food safety both for direct consumers as well as for a global community vulnerable to a food-born pandemic.

Smart contracts and chain of custody records can mitigate instances of food fraud and identify untrustworthy middlemen and business practices that exploit both independent farmers and cooperatives.

Sustainable agriculture and “local economy” cooperatives — such as AgriLedger with pilot programs in Kenya, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea — can generate economic activity and retain more value locally, even to the extent that the community operates within its own economy complete with distinct cryptocurrency and tracked exchanges.

Instantaneous transactions and accountable origin and route tracking of goods such as Provenance’s blockchain for the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative in Arkansas can transform a sprawling, complicated, and decentralized food market into a local one with high trust and quality.

Agriculture finance innovations, especially for developing world farmers, include transparent and efficient futures contract payment platforms, smart contract insurance against crop catastrophes, and microfinancing opportunities for under-served communities that can grow from subsistence level loans into investments in new businesses.

Note: This is an abstract of an article commissioned by the Blockchain Research Institute for Its Research Paper Series. The entire article is only available through Blockchain Research Institute.

Keywords: Blockchain, Traceability, Food Safety, Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture, Local Economy, Agriculture Finance

JEL Classification: M15, Q10

Suggested Citation

Kim, Henry and Laskowski, Marek, Agriculture on the Blockchain: Sustainable Solutions for Food, Farmers, and Financing (December 17, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Henry Kim (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Marek Laskowski

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

University of Guelph ( email )

Guelph, Ontario

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics