The world’s four largest agribusinesses are collaborating over a project to increase the efficiency of transactions needed to ship agricultural commodities around the world.

ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus – the ABCD of global agriculture, say they are “turning to emerging digital technologies – including blockchain and artificial intelligence options – to reduce the resource and time-intensive processes associated with the global agricultural commodity value chain”. They say the move will increase transparency and efficiency for customers.

Initially, the initiative will concentrate on the automation of post-trade execution processes for grains and oilseeds, since they are a largely manual and costly part of the supply chain – the industry spends a significant amount each year moving documents around the globe. Eliminating inefficiency here would result in faster document-processing; reduced waiting time and better contracting visibility along the whole supply chain.

In the longer term, the partners aim to drive greater reliability, efficiency and transparency across the chain by replacing manual, paper-based processes tied to contracts, invoices and payments with digital technologies. The use of standardized data, using technologies accessible to all players, would drive further efficiencies, especially where compatible with other electronic and digital applications used by participating businesses.

“We’re pleased to join the effort to foster modernisation and standardisation of data and documents in the global agribusiness value chain,” says ADM chairman and chief executive Juan Luciano. “By working together to design and implement a digital transformation, we will bring hundreds of years of collective knowledge and experience to simplify processes and reduce errors for the benefit of the entire industry.”

David MacLennan, Cargill chairman and chief executive adds: “Agriculture has always been a technology industry. Farmers and our customers expect us to deliver innovations that make them more efficient, effective and profitable. We embrace this as an opportunity to better serve the industry and ignite innovation through new products, processes and partnerships.”