French President Emmanuel Macron has called on farmers to use blockchain technology for food tracking in supply chains.
“Let’s do this in Europe, the avant-garde of agricultural technology, by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing.
The innovation is there and it must be used in the agricultural world, it must be fully used because it is at the service of shared excellence and it will serve the consumer,” he said according to a rough translation.
Speaking at the International Agriculture Fair in Paris, a closely watched yearly ritual for the president, Macron called for unity within Europe to counter rising competition from Chinese, Russian and American products.
Competition is not between European states, he said, “no farmer or consumer wants to be subjected to the diktat of non-European countries.”
In his biggest speech since the yellow vests protests, Macron called on France and Europe to seize the opportunities in Africa. They don’t want handouts, he said, they want a strong Africa:
“I say, to all farmers and decision-makers, it is an opportunity for us to seize, an opportunity for shared development, an opportunity to export all our know-how and an opportunity to help us make the African continent succeed.”
He called on the European Union to maintain an ambitious farming budget with “not one euro less,” despite Britain’s exit.
So laying out a vision of a united continent that promotes technological innovation, raises standards in Africa, competes with other blocks, and maintains high quality standards in food production.
The big vision speech did not go much in detail about blockchain technology, but last year his administration announced they are to invest $700 million on blockchain tech, artificial intelligence and data mining to transform the 5.5 million strong French bureaucracy.
“The state… must not fall behind, get ‘uberised’ and shrivel up,” Thomas Cazenave, one of the so called Macron boys, said at the time.
Resistance to the reforms sometime has been fierce with tens of thousands continuing to protest across France on Saturday.
Their demands remain varied and unclear, but generally they claim the policies favor the rich and call for Swiss style direct democracy and/or a Citizen’s Assembly.
While the vision of a United Europe that maintains sovereignty by pooling together saw Britain leave in a move that at points seemed like might risk a break up of the continent.
As it turned out, the EU has become more popular in the continent, and arguably Europe has never been more united with France and Germany recently signing a treaty for a combined army.
The European Commission is also looking at a continent wide strategy for blockchain technology and the crypto space more widely.
Whether Macron is behind it, is not clear, but the continent may well come out from a challenging period to look forward with ambition and optimism.