Blockchain agri-marketplace Ositrade launches

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

French start-up Ositrade has launched a new online marketplace for the agri-food sector that aims to “directly connect” stakeholders using blockchain technology.

Ositrade claims to be the “first secure online transaction platform”​ for the grain sector. It allows each actor in the supply chain, from producers to buyers and manufacturers, to conduct “transparent, tamper proof, real-time transactions”.​ The platform also streamlines the documentation and administration required to complete these transactions, founders Philippe Lehrmann and Remi Chevalier said.

A ‘revolution’ in French agri-food

The online marketplace aims to connect grain producers and buyers directly using “advanced digital technologies”​.

Currently, French agricultural trade largely relies on verbal discussions between producers and buyers, or through storage agencies, brokers, traders or cooperatives.

However, Lehrmann and Chevalier believe the market is gradually moving towards an “agriculture of entrepreneurs​” who require greater control over the supply chain and increased transparency. This transition will reduce the role of intermediaries and increase production quality, Lehrmann – who is Ositrade’s president – predicted.

"Each operator involved in the value chain, from the farmer to the industrialist through the collector and the storer has access to this marketplace and a detailed level of [data on] each of the parties involved in the transaction. This transparency makes it possible to redistribute and empower the role of each [actor in the supply chain] and ultimately, to raise the quality of all French production​,” he suggested.

Blockchain for transparency and security

In order to guarantee the security of the Ositrade platform and guard against food fraud, Lehrmann and Chevalier opted to use Hyperledger, an umbrella project of open source blockchains founded by the Linus Foundation.

Developed in the cloud and in SaaS mode, the Ositrade marketplace offers transactions that “preserve the confidentiality​” of the market through a “quick and easy​” multi-criteria search function. Its functions include the ability to automatically generate contract templates and store them in the cloud, promoting better traceability by linking contract documents and origin certificates.

It also wants to support “restoring the local roots of grain production”​ by sorting buyers and sellers according to their location.

"This requirement for traceability is intended to push the value chains towards more ethical and sustainable practices,”​ said CEO Chevalier. “Ositrade's contract system is also able to shorten transport times to improve logistics efficiency.”

Ositrade is being rolled out across France but, Lehrmann stressed, the group has broader European ambitions. "Once we have proven that it is well-founded in France as a whole, it seems obvious that such a… system should be deployed on a wider scale​,” he concluded. 

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