UNDP India’s Accelerator Lab and Spices Board India under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, signed an MoU, early April 2021, to build a blockchain based traceability interface for Indian spices to enhance transparency in trading. A press note stated that UNDP India independently secured support from The Cabinet Office of Japan for this initiative under the Japan SDGs Innovation Challenge.
Blockchain is a decentralized process of recording transactions on an open and shared electronic ledger. This allows for ease and transparency in data management across a complex network, including, farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers, thus simplifying the supply chain. This blockchain powered platform for Indian spices will enhance the quality assurance of agricultural export commodities.
One of the key beneficiaries of this initiative will be small farmers with potential doubling of income based on trading on this platform. It will also allow farmers just as all other members of the supply chain to access the information which further makes the entire supply chain more efficient and equitable.
The design of the blockchain interface is expected to be completed by May 2021. The project will be piloted with over 3,000 farmers engaged in chilli farming in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
UNDP and Spices Board India are working towards integrating the Blockchain Traceability Interface with e-Spice Bazaar portal developed by Spices Board India for connecting spices farmers with markets.
India is the largest exporter, producer and consumer of spices in the world. Spices exports during 2019-20 crossed $3 billion. The changing order in the global spices and food sector has increased the relevance of infrastructure development for value addition, certification for quality and food safety, promotion of spices highlighting the immunity boosting properties.
UNDP currently works on over 30 projects on the ground in almost every state. it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by transforming traditional models to do development differently. Spices Board is one of the five Commodity Boards functioning under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. It is an autonomous body responsible for the export promotion of the 52 scheduled spices and development of cardamom.