Final LASER-PULSE Report – Impact of Blockchain Technology on Food Insecurity through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya

The final (peer-reviewed) report from our USAID LASER PULSE project on how blockchain technology impacts food security through African indigenous vegetables in Western Kenya is now available.

This study is one of the first to explore how blockchain technology (BCT) could be used to improve food security in communities that are reliant on agriculture but are the last to receive services or access to markets, known as the ‘last-mile’. The goal was to determine how BCT could contribute to improving the income of African indigenous vegetable (AIV) value chain actors (e.g., producers, traders, and retailers) and to the affordability, availability, and accessibility of nutritious foods like AIVs for consumers. It finds that BCT can simultaneously strengthen the functionality of an entire agri-food value chain by increasing the efficiency of transactions among value chain actors, improving cooperation along the value chain, and enhancing access to information. A decrease in post-harvest loss, reduction in negotiation and search costs, and traceability of Grade A vegetables were facilitated by the blockchain functionality of the AgUnity V3 SuperApp. Producer income was improved by better meeting market demand, time savings on AIV activities, increasing the supply of Grade A vegetables, and making information on the vegetables more available to consumers. Increased incomes led to improved food security among producers by facilitating their ability to procure more food, especially higher quality proteins and fruits. Participants and consumers reported an increase in the consumption of AIVs over the study period because of increased quality, availability, and awareness of their nutritional importance.

USAID LASER PULSE Article on Kenya Project

USAID LASER PULSE just released the following article on our research project in Kenya. The article includes a short video showing the AgUnity blockchain app being used by project participants along the African Indigenous Vegetable (AIV) supply chain.

Webinar – Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya

December 8, 2021
2-3 pm

Jessica Agnew, PhD, MSc, MPH 
Assistant Director of Research, Operations, & Program Management 
Center for International Research, Education and Development 

Ralph P. Hall, PhD, S.M., S.M., MEng
Undergraduate Programs Director and Associate Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP)
Associate Director, School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)
Virginia Tech

Visit this link to registerhttps://tinyurl.com/hallagnew

Blockchain technology is heralded for its ability to improve traceability, trust, and trust in agri-food value chains. For the optimist and the skeptic of blockchain, we explore the complexities of using this emerging technology to strengthen agri-food value chains to create social and nutritional impacts. This 1-hour talk will explore results and lessons from the field in Western Kenya as to how blockchain might be used as a tool to improve food and nutrition security, women’s leadership, and youth engagement within the value chains for African indigenous vegetables (AIVs).

Webinar: To Block or Not – Exploring the Use of Blockchain in Last-Mile Agriculture Communities

Webinar: October 26, 2021, 8am-10am (EDT). Register (for free) here.

Traceability. Transparency. Trust.

Food systems built on these principles generally are known to attract higher price premiums by increasing consumer confidence and value for the products. This creates income earning opportunities for producers and upgrades the quality of agri-food value chains. Blockchain technology is heralded for its ability to improve traceability, trust, and trust in agri-food value chains. What is lesser known is whether it is a viable technology for those value chains that originate in last-mile agricultural communities.

This webinar explores the contexts in which blockchain offers real solutions to strengthening value chains and its potential for creating social impact, like improved food security or engaging youth in agriculture. For the optimist and the skeptic, this two-hour webinar aims to discard the trendiness of the emerging technology and take a pragmatic view of the opportunities to use blockchain to strengthen last-mile agriculture.

Webinar Host – Ralph Hall, Virginia Tech

Technology Panel: 8am – 9am (ETD)

Views from the Field Panel: 9am – 10am (ETD)

AGRILINKS Article on Kenya AIVs Project

The following AGRILINKS article by Sara Hendery was just published on our USAID LASER PULSE project in Kenya. The purpose of this project is to explore how a blockchain-based technology platform developed by AgUnity, could be used to enhance the supply chain for African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs). The project is co-managed by our in-country partners at Egerton University.

Co-designing A Research Partnership

The USAID LASER PULSE Network just released the short story below on how we implemented a co-design process with our partners – AgUnity and Egerton University in Kenya – for our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

The story talks about our desire to blend the research and translation process from the beginning of our proposal development for the following three reasons: 

(1) We expected research activities to bring up new questions that would need to be addressed to produce an impactful research translation product. The research team members are able to return to the field to get answers for the research translation team to continue to refine the app.

(2) Collaboration and partnership are essential for impact. Development in general must continue to break down silos between disciplines and professions in order to meet the needs of the individuals we are trying to serve through this research. Collaboration facilitates the rapid problem solving and creativity that impact generation requires. 

(3) Working collaboratively is a lot of fun! It stimulates passions and shared interests, facilitates out of the box thinking, and learning. So far, we have been able to provide training to each other, talk about new and innovative ways to address nutrition, discuss unique avenues to scale the project and ensure sustainability, and share our own passions and interests in travel, food, and family.

Source

Applying Blockchain Technology to Kenya’s AIV value chain

The Center for International Research, Education, and Development recently published a short story on our USAID LASER (Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research) PULSE (Partners for University Led Solutions Engine) project entitled “Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

New Paper on The Human Right to Water

ScienceThe Human Right to Water: The Importance of Domestic and Productive Water Rights

Ralph P. Hall, Barbara Van Koppen, Emily Van Houweling

Science and Engineering Ethics

Abstract

The United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights engenders important state commitments to respect, fulfill, and protect a broad range of socio-economic rights. In 2010, a milestone was reached when the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. However, water plays an important role in realizing other human rights such as the right to food and livelihoods, and in realizing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. These broader water-related rights have been recognized but have not yet been operationalized. This paper unravels these broader water-related rights in a more holistic interpretation of existing international human rights law. By focusing on an emerging approach to water services provision—known as ‘domestic-plus’ services—the paper argues how this approach operationalizes a comprehensive range of socio-economic rights in rural and peri-urban areas. Domestic-plus services provide water for domestic and productive uses around homesteads, which challenges the widespread practice in the public sector of planning and designing water infrastructure for a single-use. Evidence is presented to show that people in rural communities are already using their water supplies planned for domestic uses to support a wide range of productive activities. Domestic-plus services recognize and plan for these multiple-uses, while respecting the priority for clean and safe drinking water. The paper concludes that domestic-plus services operationalize the obligation to progressively fulfill a comprehensive range of indivisible socio-economic rights in rural and peri-urban areas.

Download or Read Paper On-line

Stockholm World Water Week 2012

On August 30, 2012, I will be taking part in a seminar on “Scaling Pathways for Multiple-Use Services, for Food Security and Health,” at the 2012 Stockholm World Water Week. During my presentation, I will highlight some interesting results from our multi-country study on the productive use of rural domestic water in Senegal and Kenya. More specifically, I will discuss the relationship between the productive use of domestic water and the (technical/financial) sustainability of rural piped water systems.

Our first paper from this multi-country study on “The role of productive water use in women’s livelihoods: Evidence from rural Senegal,” will be published in the October edition of Water Alternatives. A series of other papers from this work are currently under review/development.