A blockchain-based livestock traceability system was launched in Africa and the Middle East on June 17 to provide end-to-end visibility of the cattle supply chain.
Zimbabwe is the first African country where the system is being rolled out.
Payments multinational Mastercard, in partnership with venture capital-funded social enterprise E-Livestock, rolled out the E-Livestock Global traceability system, powered by Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance solution.
This empowers Zimbabwean farmers to prove the origin and health records of their cattle, while reducing risks to buyers. This should help Zimbabwe regain its share of the lucrative beef export market and support economic recovery.
“A first in the Middle East and Africa, the solution brings new hope to the country’s agricultural sector after an outbreak of tick-borne disease in 2018 led to the death of 50 000 cattle. The lack of a traceability system has seen Zimbabwe unable to export beef to lucrative markets in Europe and the Middle East in recent years, reducing export earnings from beef, which are important to the country’s economy.
“Commercial farmers and dipping officers tag each head of cattle with a unique, ultra-high frequency radio-frequency identification tag, as mandated by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture, and register it and its owner onto the solution. Each time the animal gets dipped, vaccinated or receives medical treatment, the tag records the event onto the traceability system,” Mastercard said.
E-Livestock Global's aim is to improve the livelihoods of rural and commercial farmers by enabling traceability of their cattle.
Leveraging Mastercard’s Provenance solution, E-Livestock Global records these events to maintain a secure and tamper-proof trail of each animal’s history.
This, in turn, supports the entire supply chain with trusted, transparent and verifiable data.
For farmers, it provides an irrefutable record that proves ownership, supports sales and exports, as well as allows them to obtain a loan, using their cattle as collateral. For buyers, it enables them to efficiently manage their operations and guarantee product quality to their customers.
The solution delivers real-time traceability that bridges the gap between data silos, allowing for decisions to be made based on a shared record that drives trust and accountability between supply chain parties. The solution is industry and data agnostic, and helps provide a clear record of traceability designed to contribute to customer confidence, trust and awareness.
“Mastercard’s Provenance solution can safely and securely track the authenticity of the cattle’s journey at every stage, from birth to sale. Tracking the medical history of cattle on a tamper-proof blockchain ledger will foster renewed trust in Zimbabwean cattle farming and re-establish Zimbabwe’s credibility as an international beef exporter,” said E-Livestock Global founder and president Max Makuvise.
“It will also open up new opportunities for farmers – especially small-scale farmers who were impacted the most by the 2018 outbreak. Ultimately, this will drive trust for multiple stakeholders by combining industry expertise with data privacy.”
“Building trust in industries is essential for a functioning and reliable value chain. Seamless supply chain transparency can help convey authenticity, expand inclusion, share sustainability practices and improve back-office efficiencies,” said Mastercard Southern Africa division president Mark Elliott.
“Our globally-scaled technology and established network capabilities are advancing this process, enabling smarter buying decisions and inclusion of all players, whatever their size.”
Mastercard is augmenting transparency and traceability of food systems and has integrated its blockchain provenance solution with other companies that enable food supply chains around the world, enhancing the supply chains for Australian avocados and Californian shrimp, as well as commodities like coffee and grains in the Americas, the company said.