Blockchain technology in current agricultural systems: from techniques to applications

Weijun Lin, Xinghong Huang, Hui Fang*, Victoria Wang, Yining Hua, Jingjie Wang, Haining Yin, Dewei Yi, Laihung Yau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Increasingly blockchain technology is attracting significant attentions in various agricultural applications. These applications are able to satisfy the diverse needs in the ecosystem of agricultural products, e.g., increasing transparency of food safety and IoT based food quality control, provenance traceability, improvement of contract exchanges, and transactions efficiency. As multiple untrusted parties, including small-scale farmers, food processors, logistic companies, distributors and retailers, are involved into the complex farm-to-fork pipeline, it becomes vital to achieve optimal trade-off between the efficiency and the integrity of the agricultural management systems as required in contexts. In this paper, we provide a survey to study both techniques and applications of blockchain technology used in the agriculture sector. First, the technical elements, including data structure, cryptographic methods, and consensus mechanisms are explained in details. Secondly, the existing agricultural blockchain applications are categorised and reviewed to demonstrate the use of the blockchain techniques. In addition, the popular platforms and smart contract are provided to show how practitioners use them to develop these agricultural applications. Thirdly, we identify the key challenges in many prospective agricultural systems and discuss the efforts and potential solutions to tackle these problems. Further, we conduct an improved food supply chain in the post COVID- 19 pandemic economy as a case study to demonstrate an effective use of blockchain technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143920-143937
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2020


  • Blockchain technology
  • agricultural applications
  • food supply chains management
  • data integrity
  • traceability


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