Visakhapatnam: Walmart Inc is piloting blockchain technology for end-to-end traceability of shrimp sourced in Andhra Pradesh and shipped to select Sam’s Club locations in the US. This pilot project is a first of its kind wherein it uses blockchain technology to track shrimp exports from the farmer in India to an overseas retailer.
Ultimately, it will help seafood farmers in the region to strengthen their shrimp supply chain and reinforce customer trust in the product thereby helping promote India as a preferred source of seafood, while also enhancing food traceability and transparency for consumers in the U.S.
Shrimp is India’s largest agricultural export, with the U.S. as its largest market, taking a 46% share of India’s shrimp exports by value in 2018. The state government in Andhra Pradesh, the heartland of shrimp farming in India, is encouraging farmers to improve quality standards and comply with stringent U.S. monitoring programs to win the trust of U.S. retailers and consumers and strengthen shrimp cultivation as a sustainable long-term growth industry. Using blockchain technology in the shrimp supply chain supports this effort.
Blockchain is a way to digitize data and share information across a complex supply chain network in a secure and trusted manner. It could also monitor food safety procedures throughout the growth and processing of the shrimp. Blockchain could thus add a level of visibility to bring extra peace of mind and value to overseas customers and reinforce India’s status as a trusted source of seafood.
“The possibility of transforming the seafood community with blockchain technology exists and organizations need to do the work to test its potential to optimize supply chain processes. As one of the most traded commodities in the world, seafood has a complex and wide-reaching supply chain, which makes testing and further developing technology-assisted traceability programs an important step. It is encouraging to see a retail leader like Walmart participate in seafood blockchain testing,” said John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute in the U.S in a press release.
For this pilot, the company worked closely with Andhra Pradesh based seafood processor, Sandhya Aqua and U.S. based supplier, Stanley Pearlman Enterprises, Inc. to add the shrimp supply chain to the blockchain-enabled IBM Food Trust and create shared value for the entire shrimp farm-to-table continuum. Walmart Inc. has collaborated with IBM on the use of blockchain technology to enhance global food traceability since 2017. The two partners have already launched several initiatives to strengthen food safety in the fresh produce supply chain.