Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture

A WORLD-LEADING pilot exploring the potential of blockchain technology in the agricultural industry is set to take place, after a partnership was announced between the CBH Group and AgriDigital.
Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture Pilot to explore innovative blockchain technology for agriculture

New CBH Group CEO Jimmy Wilson, with chairman Wally Newman.


David Cussons

The pilot will assess the benefits of blockchain technology in grains handling, just one area of agriculture in which AgriDigital Chief Executive Officer Emma Weston believes the technology holds exciting opportunities.

“The potential of blockchain to increase efficiency and trust throughout agri-supply chains is broad, including providing back office cost savings, creating digital title to commodities, removing double data entry, proving a clear chain of custody and supporting full traceability of commodities,” Ms Weston said.

The pilot, one of the first of its kind globally, will go live this month in Bordertown, South Australia, at oats processor Blue Lake Milling, a wholly owned subsidiary of CBH and will run using AgriDigital’s agri-blockchains and smart contract library.

The objectives are to prove the application of blockchain in providing full supply chain traceability, and executing the settlement of commodities on a blockchain by matching title transfer to payment in a single transaction.

“Through the pilot, CBH and AgriDigital are not only proving out blockchain technology, but we are demonstrating that a startup and a large player in the grains industry can work together and collaborate to solve problems,” Ms Weston said.

CBH Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Crane said the pilot was one of the first projects to be undertaken as the co-operative explores the possibilities of emerging technology across the business. 

“Since being established in Western Australia more than 80 years ago, CBH has continuously evolved, innovated and grown,” Dr Crane said.

“We’re continuing that story by exploring options to implement incremental, evolutionary and revolutionary innovation that will improve our supply chain, reduce costs and deliver new revenue streams for the benefit of our growers.”

Meanwhile, in other news from CBH, Jimmy Wilson has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the CBH Group, succeeding Andrew Crane who will step down in late 2017 after more than eight years in the role.

Mr Wilson comes to CBH with extensive experience in complex supply chain management in the resources sector, most recently heading BHP’s Iron Ore division, managing one of the largest and most integrated resource assets in the world, comprising mines, rail and ports.

Mr Wilson said the opportunity with CBH presented an exciting challenge for him.

“I have worked across many different countries, commodities and markets over my career and the shift into grain, while outside the traditional mining and resources sector, has many operational and trading synergies with the industries I have enjoyed working in,” he said.

“Jobs of this calibre and complexity are rare, even more so in Perth, and I feel very privileged to undertake this appointment, and begin an exciting future path with CBH and the growers of Western Australia.”

Mr Wilson will commence with CBH on 14 August 2017 as Chief Executive Officer-elect, formally taking over the role of Chief Executive Officer at the start of CBH’s financial year on 1 October 2017.

Current CEO Dr Crane will remain with the co-operative to provide support during the transition phase until 30 November 2017.

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