Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the National Agency. Neither the European Union nor National Agency can be held responsible for them.

  • So far, this module has focused primarily on how to use Blockchain technology within the agrifood sector and the potential advantages associated with this technology
  • However, it is also important to bear in mind that Blockchain technology also has certain limitations and disadvantages - crucially, Blockchain is not a universally applicable solution


  1. Select a Random Agrifood Product:
    1. Choose an agrifood product that interests you.
  2. Choose a Supply Chain Actor Persona:
    1. Select a persona from the supply chain, such as a provider, producer, processor, distributor, or retailer.
  3. Identify a Problem for Your Chosen Persona:
    1. Think of a specific problem that your chosen persona might face.
    1. Example: Imagine you are the manager of a meat processing plant trying to reduce instances of contamination.
  4. Use the World Economic Forum’s Decision Tree:
    1. Answer the 11 questions provided in the World Economic Forum’s decision tree to determine whether blockchain is the right solution to the problem you are facing.
  5. Analyse Your Results:
    1. Reflect on your answers to understand how blockchain could or could not solve the identified problem.
  6. Document Your Findings:
    1. Write a brief summary explaining your selected product, persona, problem, and the results of your decision tree analysis.
  • Adoption challenges
  • Complex blockchain ledger interfaces - not user friendly for mainstream adoption
    • Relatively high levels of digitalization and digital infrastructure (e.g. reliable internet connection, mobile network coverage) as a prerequisite for successful blockchain adoption; particularly problematic for farmers in the developing world
    • Lack of technical expertise/digital literacy among farmers; potential distrust, reluctance or resistance
    • Infrastructure and upskilling requirements = high upfront costs
    • Current examples of Blockchain in agrifood are still in the early stages of implementation, making it difficult to assess the long-term profitability 
  • Potential for error and manipulation
  • Information on the Blockchain is immutable but not infallible: Blockchain does not have a way of verifying whether the information initially inputted is accurate - room for fraud and error
    • Past errors entered into the Blockchain cannot be corrected due to Blockchain’s immutability
    • Blockchain itself is not capable of ensuring the security of products during transit - e.g. genuine products being swapped out during transit for inferior products - solution: use Blockchain in conjunction wit IoT/sensor monitoring
    • Disadvantage: Blockchain data may be encrypted, but IoT devices are more vulnerable to tampering, hacking or malfunction - this can undermine the integrity and accuracy of the Blockchain data
  • Lack of regulation
    • Blockchain as a new technology - legislation has yet to catch up with technological developments
    • E.g. code-only smart contracts are not legally enforceable
    • Cross-border blockchain transactions and question surrounding jurisdiction
    • Blockchain and data privacy?
  • Limited interoperability
    • Different Blockchain systems created by different companies may not be interoperable
    • Blockchains and other IT systems may also not be interoperable
    • Particularly problematic in the context of the agrifood sector - many different actors in global supply chain all using potentially different management systems
    • Integration may be costly and complex
    • Need for a unified technology standard
  • Environmental concerns
    • High computational power required = high levels of energy usage
  • Lack of motivation?
    • Producers may not want full transparency - loss of competitive edge, reputational damage
    • Consumer demand alone may be insufficient as a driver for change
    • Lack of policy based motivations e.g. taxation
    • Benefits for farmers may vary depending on farm size - disincentivize smallholder farmers
    • Blockchain associated with cryptocurrency, volatile reputation
© 2024 Blockchain for Agri Food Edu. All rights reserved.