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SBIP's first project is with produce traceability startup DiMuto. They'll explore the use of blockchain to improve farmers' creditworthiness. Image credit: DiMuto

Singapore offers $9m boost to blockchain projects, starting with farmer finance

December 8, 2020

Singapore has established a S$12 million ($8.97 million) scheme to strengthen its capabilities in blockchain technology – and its first project is focused on farmer finance.

Government agencies Enterprise Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) are launching the Singapore Blockchain Innovation Program (SBIP) with the support of the city-state’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The program’s funding is coming from the NRF.

According to a joint statement issued by the agencies, SBIP aims to “align blockchain technology research with the needs of the industry, to facilitate the development, commercialization and adoption of wider real-world applications.”

Over the next three years, it will collaborate with 75 companies — including multinational corporations, large enterprises, and other tech companies — across various sectors to develop 17 blockchain projects.

Blockchain technology allows for the immutable storage of data over time, allowing for radical security and transparency in financial and other transactions.

SBIP’s initial focus will be on supporting efforts in sectors in the areas of trade, logistics, and supply chain management.

Its first collaboration is with local startup DiMuto, which is using a combination, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and QR code technology to improve traceability in the fresh produce supply chain. DiMuto and SPIB will work together on ways of using blockchain technology to track and trace high-value produce in order to help improve farmers’ creditworthiness.

DiMuto — which raised funding in March and graduated from GROW‘s Singapore Food Bowl accelerator in October — works with financing affiliate Havenport to provide loans to growers and food companies based on its traceability data. [Disclosure: GROW is the impact fund run by AgFunder, which is AFN‘s parent company.]

Last year, the startup unveiled a partnership with Thai durian exporter Queen Frozen Fruit which saw Havenport extend a line of credit to Queen using enhanced supply chain data collected by tracking its fruit through the blockchain.

DiMuto is one of three Singapore Food Bowl startups strengthening the supply chain after Covid-19. Find out more about all of them here

“Blockchain has proven itself as a powerful innovator’s tool that can transform industries,” said Enterprise Singapore chairman Peter Ong, speaking at the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology yesterday.

“Much research has been done in Singapore on its widespread benefits. To go a step further, [with SBIP] we want to accelerate the translation of blockchain research into commercial applications.”

The city-state has hosted other groundbreaking blockchain projects in the agrifood industries. At the height of the Covid-19 crisis in April, local commodities firm Agrocorp completed a $12 million wheat transaction with Cargill in a matter of hours — as opposed to the usual weeks — using the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

Got a news tip? Email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter at @jacknwellis

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