One of many eagerly anticipated sessions during the upcoming May 22-24, 2019 edition of Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas, “Blockchain and IoT for Indoor Farms” will be lead by ripe.io CEO and co-founder Raja Ramachandran. We checked in with Raja to get a sneak preview of what he’d be covering during his presentation on May 22 from 10-10:30 am:
Q:What is your role and how did you get involved with your current company/organization?
A: I am one of the cofounders of ripe.io, a start-up bringing blockchain to the food and agriculture industry in order to help design a radically transparent, digital food supply system. At ripe.io we are building an unprecedented food quality network that maps the food journey to answer the questions: what’s in our food, where does it come from, and what has happened to it.
My co-founder, Phil Harris, and I were in finance before this and we each believed that blockchain had tremendous opportunity beyond the financial sector, which is where it was primarily being applied.
We chose food because we saw an industry that could benefit greatly from the value blockchain can bring, helping to address problems such as food safety and food fraud. We all care about food, so this is a way to apply a very innovative technology to a very personal issue.
Q:Share 2-3 key points you plan to cover during your Indoor Ag-Con presentation
A: During my Ag-Con presentation I will provide a brief overview of why our food system is broken and why we need to create more transparency throughout the value chain in order to regain consumer trust. I will then share more detail on the blockchain opportunity for agriculture in general, as well as illustrate what ripe.io can do to help farmers participate in a more transparent and trustworthy food system.
Q:What do you think is the most pressing challenge in the indoor agriculture sector today and how are you/your company addressing it?
The challenges facing indoor agriculture are many of the same as those facing others in agriculture. The food supply system is broken, and consumers are now rightly demanding more from every player in the value chain. From growers to manufacturers to distributors, consumers want to see accountability, quality, safety and security in the system that provides their food. And they want that food to taste good too!
Blockchain, in and of itself, is not the end all and be all to solve these issues. With blockchain and other distributed ledger systems, it’s not simply about tracking information. What is needed, and what ripe.io provides, is the analysis of that data in order to better understand what are the underlying factors that impact our food. For example, what causes a particular quality issue – is it the soil conditions at the farm level, or perhaps the transportation methods during distribution, etc. We need to understand the data in order to address the issues to start building a better and stronger system.
Q: What do you hope to get out of your participation in this year’s Indoor Ag-Con event in Las Vegas
I hope to be inspired by others doing innovative and groundbreaking work within the world of agriculture. And of course, I hope to inspire others with the work we are doing at ripe.io.
The challenges that we face and the opportunities that exist to build a better food system will not be addressed by just a few companies or individuals. It will take collaboration and partnerships. Events such as the Indoor Ag-Con event are great ways to engage in meaningful dialogues around what we each can bring to the table and how together we can start to make real change.
Make plans now to join us for Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas! REGISTER NOW.