E-Livestock Global, a venture-funded social enterprise, recently launched a blockchain-based livestock traceability system for Zimbabwean cattle farmers. The Mastercard “Provenance solution”-powered system, claiming to be the first of its kind in Africa, aims to bring “end-to-end visibility to the cattle supply chain.” It could also help Zimbabwean farmers prove the origin and health records of their cattle while reducing risks to buyers.
Solution Brings Hope to Zimbabwe Cattle Farmers
According to a statement released by Mastercard, this solution could not only bring hope to farmers who lost a total of 50,000 cattle to tick-borne disease in 2018, but may also improve Zimbabwe’s chances of regaining “its lucrative beef export market to support economic recovery.”
In his remarks following the launch, Max Makuvise, Founder and President of E-Livestock Global, lauded the solution saying this “will open up new opportunities for farmers.” He said:
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.
As part of E-Livestock’s blockchain-based cattle tracking system, commercial farmers and dipping officers (dipping is a process done for tick prevention) tag each head of cattle with a unique, ultra-high frequency RFID tag — as mandated by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Agriculture — and register the livestock and its owner to the blockchain. From then on, each time the animal gets dipped, vaccinated or receives medical treatment, the tag records the event onto the traceability system.
Enhancing Transparency With Mastercard’s Blockchain Solution
For his part, Mark Elliott, the Division President of Mastercard in Southern Africa, touts how the blockchain-enabled “seamless supply chain transparency can help convey authenticity, expand inclusion, share sustainability practices and improve back-office efficiencies.”
According to the company statement, Mastercard is aiming to bring more transparency and traceability to food systems. It says the payments giant has already integrated its blockchain system with other companies that enable food supply chains around the world. The integrations are further “enhancing the supply chains for Australian avocados and Californian shrimp and commodities like coffee and grains in the Americas” the statement added.
As Mastercard is a large, centralized company, the embattled Zimbabwean cattle farmers will likely be watching closely in the coming months to see if they make good on their blockchain promises for the unique market needs of the country.
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