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Italy puts tomatoes on the blockchain

05/08/2020 - François-Xavier Branthôme
Over 300 Italian agricultural companies adopt VeChain’s blockchain

The largest Italian agricultural association and the largest tomato processing company in the country rely on VeChain’s blockchain technology to make the tomato supply chain traceable.
In a bid to promote transparency in their tomato supply chain, Coldiretti and Princes Industrie Alimentari (PIA) have joined forces to launch a project to guarantee the supply chain for vegetables, integrating VeChain as a decentralized ledger technology (DLT). Coldiretti (Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti) is the largest association representing and supporting Italian agriculture and Princes Industrie Alimentari operates the largest tomato processing plant in Europe in Foggia, Italy. The company expects that around 300,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes will be processed from the end of July until the end of September.

According to a local media report, the association and the company have signed an annual contract as part of a three-year supply chain agreement to support the “Made in Italy” quality label by promoting quality and national origin. Among the various initiatives, the farmers’ association and the company are developing a digital platform based on the VeChainThor blockchain. 

The project is managed by Tokenfarm, an initiative of Coldiretti led by Pier Luigi Romiti. Per sources close to the matter, the team has adopted VeChain ToolChain for the pilot which seeks to foster trust and transparency in the supply chains of Italian agricultural products and boost consumer confidence by making it possible for consumers to view the entire history of the purchased farm product right from the farm, down to when it hits the shelf. The project has been in the development phase for a year and a half and has involved some 300 companies, 17 cooperatives and six producer associations that will use the VeChain based blockchain platform to track their deliveries.

As Romiti stated, the project is “a great challenge which is now being mastered. During the COVID-19 period, farmers were trained in the use of the platform and in the insertion of production data on the VeChain blockchain: this time we were ready and after a year and a half’s work we involved 300 companies, 17 cooperatives and six producers’ associations who, within a very important three-year agreement for the price of raw materials, agreed to track all their supplies. In fact, three million quintals (300,000 metric tonnes) of tomatoes pass through the Princes factory every year. We are now in the phase of adoption by the farmers, who we trained during the Covid emergency to use the app to enter the data that are then certified in the blockchain.”

As the CEO of Tokenfarm further explained, the first tests of the project have been successful. Coldiretti said he was convinced that this was the right way to guarantee high quality tomatoes in Italy. Moreover, as Romiti stated, the VeChain blockchain is also intended to guarantee that the tomatoes come from farms that comply with the required ethical standards. “It will obviously be an open experiment for several years, because we will have to perfect the blockchain with our partner Vechain. But in the meantime, the first trial has convinced us that this is the right way: we pay more for the tomato and we guarantee its quality.”

VeChain’s adoption in Italy and around the world
At the beginning of June, ICAB La Fiammante, an Italian food company with more than 70 years of experience, announced that it will use the My Story™ traceability solution co-developed by DNV GL and VeChain. The VeChainThor blockchain is being piloted as part of a pilot project to record information on the production and transport of Italian tomatoes.
In the same period, Walmart China subsidiary, Sam’s Club China integrated VeChain into its operations to enhance supply chain traceability. More recently, as reported by BTCManager, Color Line AS, Norway’s largest cruise ferry line adopted the VeChain-powered My Care COVID-19 infection risk management solution.

Some complementary data
A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is "
an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high fault tolerance. 
Blockchain technology is increasingly used to promote traceability in agri-food industries. Thanks to reliability, transparency, traceability of records, and information immutability, blockchains facilitate collaboration in a way that differs both from the traditional use of contracts and from relational norms. Contrary to contracts, blockchains do not directly rely on the legal system to enforce agreements. In addition, contrary to the use of relational norms, blockchains do not require trust or direct connections between collaborators.

Blockchain was invented in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

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Princes Industrie Alimentari

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