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Geographical Indications and Blockchain

31 October 2021  |  Blockchain, Supply Chain, Traceability

What is GI Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or manufactured product originating from a definite geographical territory. Geographical Indications (GI) is one of the six Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that enable comprehensive and effective protection to goods registered as GI goods. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003. The geographical indication right enables those who can use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.

Blockchain for GI

Blockchain provides open, transparent mechanisms to create, record, and store data and transactions automatically with little need for human interaction or communication. Blockchain technology is a natural fit for Geographical Indications (GIs) because GIs are grounded in the values of provenance, authenticity, and quality. One of the most successful applications to date is in food supply chains, which benefit from the features of blockchain that allow greater confidence in a good’s provenance, authenticity, and quality. The blockchain application for GIs could also bring value for GIs by improving communication with consumers and facilitating the support of sustainability goals.

About 360 GI (Geographical Indication-tagged products are in India, most of which fall in the food category. GI tag is a sign used on products with a specific geographical origin and possesses origin-based qualities and reputation in the region. GI-tagged products have competitive advantages, which has not been leveraged enough. One of the main reasons is the lack of trust in the origin and authenticity of the product, which blockchain-enabled- traceability can address.

Proposed Solutions for Blockchain and GI

As seen in the use of agricultural technology powered by blockchain technology, the practice of traceability has optimised the use and importance of traceability-oriented solutions. Traceability enables the complete journey of how sustainably any product is harvested and distributed. Therefore, altogether an organically certified product, along with a GI tag, will ensure that the product is indeed true to its value. The GI tags also further help and strengthen the certification systems (be it natural or organic certification).

Blockchain Benefits in GI

Blockchain technology could help provide a “Watchdog mechanism” for robust monitoring with a multi-user interface, thereby recording certifications, validating compliances for prevention of counterfeits and establishing the genuineness of products with the help of monitoring agencies or authority.

TRST01 Solution Implementation --Blockchain-enabled Traceability System

TRST01 has built a blockchain platform that offers secure, trust and transparent transactions by generating unique blockchain integrated dynamic QR codes. The proposed software solution will be in an integrated Mobile application, web application and blockchain platform.

Change of status like verification sample generated to date. The Proposed solution for seed traceability will get connected with the TRST01 platform through a secured API engine. Verification initiated, GPS parameters, sample comparison, Lab analysis, approvals, packing, expiry date, logistics and dealers will be secured as 256 hash values in a selected public blockchain platform. The entire process and the architecture will record/capture Critical Data Points logged by different stakeholders, helping to know the location of the farm, the batch number, processing unit, packaging unit, shipping information and the complete timeline about the journey from farm to the retail shelf.

Documents, images, audio and video files will be stored in the local storage, and a link to the stored location will be converted into hash value to secure it in the blockchain. All the details about the issuer, timestamp, inspection details of all stages and certificate details become immutable, and the provenance is maintained for any future reference.

At present, TRST01 is focusing on implementing a series of traceability applications. TRST01 applications for agricultural products update electronic diaries and link all information in the product supply chain so consumers can use a mobile device to scan the QR code for reviewing the history of the production and distribution of products. TRST01’s responsibility is to trigger an event on the blockchain every time it is called. This can be related to any of the following

Consumers and Producers Perspective

Once implemented, consumers can thereby scan the QR code to know the GI status and source of the Agri produce, right up to the farm level. This makes it easier for them to pick the original variety of products, maybe the related to a premium variety. Establishing blockchain-enabled traceability for original products will help consumers get value for their money and curb product falsification and mislabelling. Also, from a producer perspective, the AUTHENTICITY and SOURCE OF ORIGIN are essential for GI-tagged products to ensure the right value for the product. Once the farmers register under the GI initiative will get the produce tagged immediately. The actual beneficiaries will undoubtedly be the farmers, who will be able to improve their income.

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