The use of blockchain and smart contracts in the agri-food industry

Emanuela Maio (Università di Parma)
Erica Adamo (Università di Parma)

Abstract

The use of blockchain and smart contracts in the agri-food industry is an application of two main themes: Artificial Intelligence and food, on which European recovery plan and italian PNRR focus in part. The proposal aims at analysing, on the one hand, the use of blockchain and smart contracts in the agri-food industry and, on the other hand, at solving the legal questions related to them. Indeed the supply chains that to date are most promoting the use of blockchain are in agri-food industry, such as the olive oil and wine supply chain.
Concrete examples of the use of blockchain in the agri-food sector (such as the IBM Food Trust) show how such technologies can be used as a network linking growers, processors, wholesalers, suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers and other players in the agri-food industry, which makes it possible to manage the traceability of raw materials and products with a number of advantages, such as speeding up the management of information and processes, reducing inefficiencies and waste, and increasing the reliability of data and information (transparency) both within the supply chain itself and towards the consumer. In the light of this, the working paper starts from an investigation on the use of new technologies in agri-food industry and then it focuses on different legal issues. The reference is to consumer protection and the contractual and bargaining power of the parties within unregulated sectors.

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