Announcement: BeefLedger kicks off new cross border platform project

BeefLedger is pleased to announce the beginning of its next significant national interest Research & Development project in collaboration with Future Food Systems CRC and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The comprehensive project is a 36 month x 4-phase initiative. The overall project is summarised nicely at the Future Food Systems website story here.
The new project series with the Future Food Systems CRC builds on a foundation of groundbreaking research and development work collaboratively undertaken and co-funded by QUT, BeefLedger Ltd, and the Food Agility CRC on the Export Smart Contracts project.

The Export Smart Contracts research work focused on a blockchain-enabled cross-border financial transactions smart contracts tool. It has provided considerable learnings in the beef supply chain space. Future Food Systems and the BeefLedger team acknowledge the contributions of Food Agility in this proof of concept development, and look forward to ongoing collaborative opportunities with Food Agility and other CRCs in this important field.

BeefLedger and an interdisciplinary research team at QUT will work with food-buying groups across Australia and China to explore blockchain-based approaches to streamlining cross-border trade, in the initial proof-of-concept stage of a multi-stage CRC project that will develop the soft and hard digital infrastructure needed to support the growth of smart trade. The new infrastructure will complement the physical elements of regional export hubs and cultivate new approaches to digital value creation in light of current trends in consumer culture and communities.

Phase 1: from tools to platforms

Phase 1 is a 12-month proof of concept initiative focused on leveraging BeefLedger’s underlying technical assets and capabilities, developed in the beef supply chain case, to create more generalised digital infrastructure for food and related exports to China. We thus shift our R&D emphasis from transactional ‘smart contract’ tools to a wider platform-based approach.

Opportunities for industry partners to contribute to, and participate in, this project exist and anyone interested can contact us via the contacts page on the BeefLedger website.

Warwick Powell presents the BeefLedger infrastructure to the Digitalisation and Revitalisation of Agriculture Conference, Hangzhou December 2019

Post COVID19 Challenges & Opportunities

As a trading nation that earns significant export revenues through agricultural trade with China (AU$10b+ pa and growing), streamlining trade e-commerce enabling capabilities is vital to long-term national economic welfare.

In the past decade China has become Australia’s largest agricultural market. In 2019, in volume terms, it became Australia’s largest beef market. The growth of China’s middle class economy is driving transformations in lifestyles, needs and wants. Amongst these is demand from consumers for high quality, safe foods.

Anecdotal feedback suggests that consumer demands around food safety have intensified in the COVID19 context. Recent events have consolidated the policy priorities first laid out in 2016 by the China national government in its Healthy China 2030 plan, and subsequent implementation strategies.

China is a key trading partner

“We are pleased to be able to extend our national interest collaboration with Future Food Systems, and tackle important challenges and create new opportunities in a post-COVID19 context,” said BeefLedger chairman and founder Warwick Powell.

“Post-COVID19 will see New Normals emerge. The adverse impact on global trade volumes in the short term is something all trading nations must address. Creating a new future with streamlined trading possibilities, built on new layers of information architecture that function seamlessly in cross-border contexts, is a big challenge. We’re stepping up to tackle this challenge, by harnessing our technological capabilities and cross-border institutional experience and connections.

“China is pushing ahead with an expanded commitment to trade growth via a more ambitious program of trade e-commerce zones. We are well positioned to continue our participation in these zones, to create the platforms and channels by which food systems can smoothly create and trade value,” he said.

More information on China’s recent announcements on its expanded cross-border e-commerce initiatives can be found here.

Beyond Beef – alignment with National Roadmap

“Our research and development focus through this project is aligned with key priorities articulated in the Australian National Blockchain Roadmap. The Roadmap, released in January 2020, highlights the risk to export earnings of heightened food fraud – noting beef as a case – and our product goes towards addressing these concerns.

“But we go beyond the case of beef with this next phase of work. This poses new challenges as supply chains vary from one to another in terms of the specifics, their cultures, historical structures, commercial configurations and risk profiles. We also have varying degrees of digital readiness, which is a reality that conditions the speed at which Australian sectors and firms adapt,” said Mr Powell.

Future Food Systems CRC

The Future Food Systems CRC is an Australian government-university-industry collaborative research and development organisation focused on driving cutting edge research in national food systems. It was approved in 2019 by the Australian Commonwealth Government with a funding commitment of AU$35m. BeefLedger is a founding industry partner of the CRC.

Commitment to R&D

BeefLedger is a passionate supporter of Australia’s CRC framework, which brings industry partners together with research institutions.

We are a founding industry partner with Food Agility CRC, which is one of the spearheads in the agritech space. Our design driven proof of concept Export Smart Contracts project with Food Agility shows how agile industry and research alignments can break new ground. We look forward to exploring more project opportunities with Food Agility to leverage the investments made by the project’s co-funding partners.

BeefLedger and allied companies are also working with other industry and research consortia to develop new CRC project proposals aimed squarely at leveraging technology for more effective and sustainable regional economic development.