Launched at the Primary Industries Summit in Wellington, the Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ) group will provide a platform for data sharing. Blockchain technology will underpin the group’s aim to prove products’ provenance and food safety, and for biosecurity track-trace capabilities.
Headed by Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge, founding members include Ports of Auckland, Potatoes NZ, Foodstuffs, Silver Fern Farms, ANZ and NZ Trade and Enterprise.
Claridge says the group intends to address some of the key issues facing the sector, particularly data integration, compliance and efficiency.
Blockchain technology enables different parties along a product’s supply chain to view and add documents and approvals, depending upon their position. It also ensures sensitive competitive information, such as pricing, is only available for certain parties to view.
For multi-staged exported products, it is being hailed as a simpler, more efficient means of ensuring the multiple documents for phytosanitary, food safety and provenance proof required are managed more easily.
The TANZ network will aim to connect the different data “silos” between each stage, allowing data sharing in a trusted, secure manner. This has included building Trackback, a decentralised technology provider that underpins the blockchain data transfer technology between participating parties.
TANZ consortium manager Semanie Cato says building trust, maintaining data privacy and protecting digital rights were key to the trust alliance.
“Members will be able to easily verify and share data securely, and benefit from the increased efficiency and productivity of the consortium,” she said.
Cato says the alliance has the potential to be replicated in other sectors and industries.
Three key areas have been identified in agriculture, where blockchain is intended to help.
These are ensuring farmers get paid for delivery of their produce, accessing finance for buyers of produce to pay farmers quicker, and thirdly proving provenance to consumers.
Maersk shipping company has been an early mover on the technology with its TradeLens platform, and last year signed on the next two largest shipping companies in the world to the system.
ASB bank also launched a blockchain application aimed at reducing payment times and improving online fraud prevention for exporters.