Rice Farmers In Cambodia To Benefit From Oxfam Blockchain Project
Oxfam International Is Working On A New Blockchain Project That Would Support Rice Farmers in Cambodia
Oxfam International is famous for their group of charitable organizations, which are all independent, but somehow work together to support different causes around the world. One of their most recent concerns has been the rice farmers in Cambodia, who struggle to get fair prices for their produce. In this new venture, the group wants to work towards changing that with the use of blockchain.
The project, which is only in the beginning stages of their pilot phase, is called the Blockchain for Livelihoods from Organic Cambodian Rice, but it has been nicknamed “Blocrice.” On the blockchain, the price of rice will be logged in the area, helping farmers to find the fairest prices for their crops. When it begins, the first group of people initiated into the project will be just 50 organic rice farmers. However, once the pilot is over and the blockchain has been tested, then the rest of the country will be brought into the blockchain.
According to the managing director of AmruRice, Kann Kunthy, the goal of this project is “to bring traceability, transparency, financial literacy, and best practices [to] contract farming in Cambodia.” AmruRice is one of the rice exporters that will be involved in the pilot.
One report shows that Blocrice will work towards improving contract farming, which will involve exporters, farmers’ cooperatives, rice cracker makers, and related stakeholders. By using blockchain technology, there will be contracts that dictate the price upon purchase, trade volume, delivery method, and other important information for farmers. With this information available, trade and payment records will be recorded in real time, giving a reliable source of information for farmers across the country.
Country director of Oxfam Cambodia, Solinn Lim, said, “Blocrice will give them a platform to empower themselves.” Even though the farmers and workers for farmland are about 60% of the employment within Cambodia, there’s only a select few that have their livelihood protected with a contract.
However, since so many farmers are not under contract, which keeps other farmers in the dark. Furthermore, without this information, traders have the opportunity to offer loans with excessive interest to exploit farmers and their needs. To make matters worse, farmers end up having to see their produce to help fulfill their debts, which results in almost nothing in profits.
Oxfam’s goal is to make a major difference in this problem. With the blockchain technology, farmers can have a bargaining chip while making their contract. The pilot is planned to run until March 2019, which matches with the primary harvest season for Cambodia. When the rainy season comes, they can use the opportunity to sell rice at a price that is more beneficial to them.
A project in the Philippines promises to do something similar, using blockchain with TraXion for farmers and farm workers to use electronic wallets as a way for them to receive payments and their salary. CEO of TraXion explained,
“By engaging farmland owners, they can use the QR code. The QR code will be their e-wallet and can be used in cashless transactions. They can also cash it out through ‘bayad’ [payment] centers.”