I’m always on the look out for interesting projects launching their Initial Coin Offering. Interesting in the sense of geography or a sector that I will not normally be able to be exposed to with respect to conventional equities. And then I came across this. Demeter.
Demeter claims to be reinventing agriculture through blockchain. Sounds fluffy? Read on!
What the farm to table concept means
It claims to be like a broker that rents small plots of farm land anywhere in the world. It is envisaged to encourage investment in organic farmland and farmers adopting organic techniques of farming. Once the farmers are settled in, they can confidently go about their most important role which is to grow organic produce for the end consumer. That won’t happen unless the end consumer is on board in this ecosystem to purchase the produce. Think of it as the farmer is growing the food you ordered. Naturally, the end result is that as people are aware of the project, more people will have access to organic food on the table at a reasonable price. And that includes you and me.
Now of course with any ICO, its par for the course that some part of it must run off a blockchain, and so it does using the Ethereum chain with its own token. Being on the blockchain also presents crop quality control at every milestone, thereby increasing trust in this ecosystem which is so paramount.
Link to the whitepaper here. Please take some time to read through to truly fully understand project’s objective. Key objectives are:
1. Price Fairness: End consumers paying a fair, not exorbitant price for organic food. Since farmers deal direct with the end consumers, they get to keep most of the money for their labour instead of paying the middemen
2. Marketplace: Buyers (end consumers) and sellers (farmers) able to trade goods and services. This facilitates price discovery which is essential for fair pricing
3. Growfunding: End consumers essentially rent a plot of organic farmland where their food will be farmed
Speaking of personal experience, now I know that situations do change. Ask me 10 years ago if it bothered me about the type of food I ate, and I’d tell you not so much. However, looking back, there was a subtle yet deliberate shift for me in the recent few years about the type of food I eat. Pesticides. Fast growing hormones. Natural flavours.
It got to a point where I even tried to be a small home farmer. I bought seeds, basic equipment and I grew vegetables hydroponically (I believe it was the Kratky method) to test out the idea that everyone could potentially be a farmer. I dreamt of fresh produce and leafy vegetables grown organically. I cycled through 2 smallish crop cycles before eventually the ants beat me to it and destroyed my yield.
The learning point I had from the experience was this: being a farmer, albeit a small time one, was indeed tough. There are too many variables in the equation, for example sunlight, temperature, water, fertilizer and of course the dreaded pests, which didn’t make the job any easier. It was newfound respect for the farmers who toil day in day out in the fields.
A rough timeline of the project is illustrated above.
I feel the initial focus on Asia is very apt. The huge population and the shift to urban living caused society to generally be wealthier compared to 10 or 20 years ago. The food quality scares in China have caused many to sit up to take a long hard look at food purchasing habits and the switch to organic foods often at large premiums. The Demeter team has recognised this, and are targeting to penetrate the Chinese market with their knowledge and network.
Its never easy to run a fund raising in the regular equities world. Its even tougher in the virtual space especially since there are so many ICOs vying for attention. It would seem that only tech solutions are favoured, leaving fund raising for conventional businesses to languish behind. This project is concerned on marrying key concerns for both the producers and the end buyers, that is to focus on the production of quality foods and purchase affordable fresh foods. This is a project that demonstrates a real life want and I’d dare say this is one interesting project I’d like to see succeed.
Remember, the biggest selling point of this project is to connect the end consumers to the farmers growing their crops. The market is essentially everyone since everyone has to eat! This could potentially be huge!
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