Central meets decentral: Databases for perfect compliance


Apr 8, 2024

Apr 8, 2024





3 min read

3 min read

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The AgTech traceability market is growing exponentially and will grow even faster when claims can be made and accessed more efficiently. Discover the strength of this innovative alliance between central and decentralized databases for a more digitized and sustainable food chain.

Why work with a decentralized database? 

Agrifood is the least digitized industry of all. With growing uncertainties in food production due to climate change and global instability, there is a clear, urgent need for more digitization. With more and better digitized data, we can have more effective responses to these uncertainties.

To address this need for reliable data, we first need to look at the governance of databases. There are two types of governance: centralized and decentralized. A centrally managed database gives only one party full control over both access and content, reducing data credibility. By decentralization through solutions such as blockchain, data becomes immutability and cannot be altered or deleted. This enhances the credibility of information. 

Open Food Chain (OFC) is a decentralized, public infrastructure that links data throughout the entire agrifood system, making every transaction from farm to fork traceable. We collaborate with several centralized data solutions, like farm management systems, traceability systems and geo-referencing services. Collaboration has proven technically feasible and also valuable. Benefits become especially important with increased demands for traceability like with new laws like EUDR and CSRD.

How to work with a decentralized database?

A central database acts as a custodian, securely adding data to Open Food Chain. OFC's public infrastructure ensures that each transaction is immutable and publicly verifiable, while the central database provides solid data entries. Privacy is ensured through one-way encryption. OFC's data oracle transforms the stored data into comprehensible information.

How it works in practice:

  1. Supply chain actors share batch claims to OFC (i.e. about deforestation or land tenure rights). This is done by establishing a link between existing digital services like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or phone applications and OFC. If this is not at hand, a simple email or spreadsheet entry is also sufficient.

  2. Once shared on OFC, data cannot be altered or deleted. 

  3. This data is then verified by external partners such as a geo-referencing service. The verification becomes immediately visible. 

  4. The claims are publicly accessible for customs, importers or consumers and add to other claims made on the supply chain, providing more complete, efficient and reliable compliance.


What benefits do you get from collaborating?

For centralized AgTech services such as farm management or traceability, there are three reasons to work with a decentralized database: Complete traceability, data reliability and reduced costs.

Complete traceability

Decentralized systems capture data from multiple centralized sources, ensuring a complete supply chain view. Data from one system is supplemented by data from another system. OFC can supplement farm data via simple data entries from phones.

Data reliability

A combination of centralized and decentralized systems makes data stronger. Data rigorously managed on central databases can be made immutable and publicly verifiable by outside actors, becoming a reliable source of truth, reinforcing trust among stakeholders.

Reduced costs

A decentralized system captures data from multiple centralized sources, eliminating the need for extensive system integrations or rebuilds by leveraging and connecting existing data. This reduces investments and administrative redundancies, avoiding plural storage of identical data.

Want to learn more or collaborate with us? Book a meeting with one of our team members today.