- Anheuser-Busch InBev is continuing its partnership and investing more funds with BanQu, a blockchain company the beer giant used in a pilot to help track cassava grown by Zambian farmers, according to a press release. Cassava is a root vegetable sometimes used to make beer and this pilot connected thousands of farmers to the BanQu platform to track their sales.
- Farmers with few financial resources, like a bank account, have typically relied on a middleman to get their products to buyers, but BanQu says its platform allows these farmers to connect more directly with manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch and prove their financial stability.
- AB InBev plans to begin using BanQu's track and trace technology in other operations including recycling, crop insurance, and labor-related enhancements, according to the announcement, which did not say where these applications would be used.
The bottom tiers of many global supply chains are notoriously opaque. BanQu's technology is meant to provide more visibility into these lower level suppliers. Farmers are able to access the platform "on any device—from the oldest to newest cell phones," BanQu said in a press release last year.
The BanQu application uses built-in geo-location tags along with profiles for the farmers to track each transaction. This allows the crop, in this case, cassava, to be tracked through through the supply chain beginning with its origin. BanQu has partnered with banking and mobile money providers like MTN and Airtel to help facilitate this.
"Since 60% of the 2.7 billion un-banked and under-banked people already own mobile phones, these devices make the best platform for these people to connect to the global economy," Gadnis said.
This is just one blockchain project underway at AB InBev. Last year, the company also worked with the shipping company APL Accenture, and the logistics company Kuehne + Nagel, to test a blockchain solution to making shipping documentation easier, according to a press release.