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Trust | Transparency | Traceability

Blockchain Seed Traceability

26 July 2021   |   Blockchain, Emerging Tech, Supply Chain, Traceability

We have approximately 130mn farmers in our country who cultivate 195mn hectares of land. In reality, this is the backbone of our economy, employing 58% of our population. Traceability helps build trust and confidence amongst all these players within the value chain, including the customers, agricultural companies, wholesalers, farmers, research and academic institutions.

It all starts with the seed itself. Of course, the seed is the essential input of any agricultural process and plays a significant role in attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth. The distribution of quality seeds is as critical as their production. The vast majority of Indian farmers do not have access to high-quality seeds due to their exorbitant prices. Another challenge is the availability of spurious seeds. In India, around 35% of seeds in use are from the cultivated crops saved by the farmer. Only 45% go through the ICAR system, with certifies the products. The balance comes from private companies and doesn’t go through an authorized certification process. A fool-proof traceability and certification system is, therefore, the need of the hour. According to reports, agricultural productivity could increase by 25% if such a system were to be introduced.

The Innovation in Agriculture, our Bio Diversity, Large Distinct Variety pool, Genetical Uniformity, IP on Traits, Parent Materials, PVP, Breeders Rights, Trademarks & Copyrights should all be closely protected. The seed company’s existence is dependent on ‘Innovation’ which needs to be strongly safeguarded. Any misuse, pilferage and counterfeits should get traced back to the Original Owner for appropriate corrective action.

Blockchain and intellectual property

Given the immutable nature of Blockchain, it can significantly impact the field of Intellectual property

1. Blockchain-based smart contract

In Intellectual property, buying a patent involve steps as checking the assignment of the patent, checking the validity of the patent, negotiating the sale agreement, executing and paying the transaction and then finally inform all relevant patent offices of the transaction.

2. Blockchain determining creator/proof of ownership

Blockchain technology can be used as a trusted platform for verifying the authenticity of ownership of IP works. A person wanting to get a patent over an invention can go to the patent office to apply for a patent and secure his IP. However, in the case of copyright, because of the lack of any official documentation, the onus of proving ownership of creative content lies with the creator.

3. Blockchain for unifying global patent and IP system

Blockchain with its decentralized ledger technology would also solve the problem of unifying the patent system across countries. This could vastly improve the effectiveness of IP management, speed up the innovation process in companies and foster the distribution of information across them through the ledger.

Many legislations and patent offices are slowly moving towards the acceptance of Blockchain as “admissible evidence”. Below are some of the scenarios where courts or jurisdictions have considered Blockchain as proof of evidence under electronic evidence

Blockchain enhances traceability

There is an incredible opportunity to enhance traceability in the agricultural sector through blockchain technology, otherwise known as Blockchain Traceability. This process commences at the seed level and goes up to the final stage, right through the entire supply chain for the commercial seed production. In research and development, the complete process of developing improved variety and better quality seed with introgression traits should be protected using Blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology has manifold advantages. Since all the data gets recorded on a distributed ledger system, it becomes immutable. The immutability of the data creates transparency and accountability. Verification becomes easy at every level – for regulators, quality certification agencies, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.

TRST01 Blockchain Traceability solution eliminates both research academia and seed markets concerns and enhances traceability and transparency in the whole agri-value chain. The primary focus is to digitally connect all stakeholders in the value chain and parameters and exchange data.

TRST01 partnered with PJTSAU and have started defining Seed traceability on Pigeon Peas and Safflower. The scope will be determining the complete value chain from Nucleus Seed to Commercial seed and enabling full Traceability for Certified seed and Commercial seed using blockchain technology. The study will go a long way in addressing proper protection on intellectual property and ensuring PVP for the parent material for Pigeon-pea and safflower oil is protected.


The Future of Blockchain in Intellectual Property.

The Importance of Food Traceability.

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