While blockchain can help build transparency, participation from trustworthy actors is essential to making it a success, as SIM: Supply Chain Information Management recently discovered in Morocco.
In the spring of 2019, SIM, Axfood and The Axfoundation conducted a field study of Axfood’s Moroccan strawberry supplier.
The purpose of the trip was to provide a deeper understanding of the local context in Morocco, and to assess the suitability of a blockchain pilot project.
In the case of the Moroccan strawberry farms, for a successful blockchain to be established, buy-in from all actors in the production process would be required.
Given the nature of the sector in this country, there was no guarantee that such a network could be established before significant stakeholder work had been done.
Lack Of Trust
Strawberry farmers were hesitant to offer workers the possibility to provide or insert data (even anonymously) on the blockchain about their working conditions.
The project team also uncovered distrust from farmers grounded in Oxfam’s consumer campaigns. This, in turn, put strawberries from Morocco in a negative light for international buyers.
In addition, farmers who were approached were eager to learn, ‘What’s in it for me?’
As a result of their experiences in Morocco, the relevant parties chose not to move forward with the pilot project.
According to SIM, this could be pre-tested in another supply chain, where vertical integration is already in place and trust has been established among supply chain partners.
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