(Bloomberg) -- The lack of reliable crop data is a chronic problem for Indonesia and a start up is on a mission to change that by using blockchain technology.
A Jakarta-based startup HARA is using blockchain to collect and manage farm data, from soil and crop conditions to pest infestation, cultivation process, land ownership and grains transaction in a bid to help improve farmers’ livelihood, according to Chief Executive Officer Regi Wahyu.
“Our mission is to provide rural smallholders access to various farm goods, financing and crop insurance,” Wahyu said in an interview in Jakarta last week. “The holy grail for accessibility is availability of accurate and transparent data” which can help farmers in getting loans to finance their production, he said.
Creating accurate data is crucial for Indonesia, where some key information, such as crop output, can vary from one agency to the other. It has become a priority for the new Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo, who pledged last week to harmonize and create a single data set within three months. Wahyu hopes HARA can work with the government to develop reliable agriculture data.
Blockchain is an online ledger that records transactions using encryption to ensure security while allowing a network of users to verify them.
Other comments from the interview with HARA:
- HARA has since last year collected data from 27,000 rice and corn farmers in east Java. This will be expanded to central and western part of the island, Wahyu said.
- HARA has more than 700 field agents to collect the data.
- In the long term, Wahyu expects to collect data from all 34 million farmers in the country.
- The farmers’ data can be used to feed financial companies detailed information needed for credit assessments or crop insurance, Wahyu said.
- HARA currently works with PT Bank Negara Indonesia and PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Syariah in providing loans for farmers.
- HARA plans to expand cooperation with more banks, leasing, financial technology companies and market place.
- HARA is supported by several strategic investors in the food industry and it plans to raise $5 million in funding next year.