As a perishable product, milk needs the fastest, most efficient way to transport, test and manage the supply chain. It ensures security of supply, transparency of milk origin, better control and trace-back, fairer pricing, and cost savings – not just for farmers, but for all participants in the milk supply chain. “Milk Choices” is a group of volunteers in the dairy industry who have worked to explore what an “open market” for milk might look like. This goes to the heart of why direct sourcing is the way forward to ensure a sustainable dairy industry. This video from Milk Choices explains the concept. Milk2Market has now made this a reality.
Milk2Market’s The Milk Exchange operates as an online marketplace. An online marketplace facilitates the purchases of goods or services from many different sources – eBay is a global example of one such online marketplace. As the operator of the marketplace, Milk2Market does not own any inventory – we simply present other people’s inventory (milk) to a user (milk buyer) and facilitate the sale (transaction).
It is best known as the technology that supports the ‘bitcoin’ crypto-currency, but blockchain has applications for many industry sectors. Also known as “distributed ledger” or “shared ledger” technology, it is essentially an online transaction ledger where information can be stored. It is popular as it offers a decentralised way for multiple users to contribute to and access data, in real time. This creates transparency, important for those who want to view the data to confirm or validate anything that the data represents. These blocks of information cannot be edited, adjusted or changed. New data is added to old in blocks, which forms a data chain. Entities that wish to add data to a specific blockchain must go through a series of validation processes, reducing the chance that a hacker could alter the data.
The dairy sector is an ideal industry to adopt blockchain technology. A large amount of data is able to be collected at every part of the supply chain – from herd health, to milk quality assurance and testing, to transportation journey items and temperature controls, to the date it is placed on the retailer’s shelf. This data becomes a powerful tool to manage a broad range of business efficiencies and transparencies. Milk2Market’s Milk Exchange is grounded in blockchain technology.
A smart contract is a computer-generated contract that digitally facilitates, verifies and enforces the conditions of the contract automatically. Smart contracts allow transactions without involving third parties and these transactions are trackable and irreversible. When a set of conditions are met (defined by the creator(s) of the contract), then those conditions are enforced.
Milk2Market’s Milk Exchange uses smart contracts between the Farmer and the Milk Buyer.