‘Internet of Fertilizer:’ New cybersecurity system verifies authenticity of deliveries to farmers

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The sprawling “Internet of Things” continues its march toward omnipresence, with a newly announced program that will track and authenticate deliveries of fertilizer sold to 140 million rural farmers in India.

Authentication and security company WISeKey has announced a partnership with Indian Potash Limited, one of the largest fertilizer importers in India, to create a cybersecurity ecosystem aimed at farmers in the country.prod_map

Through the plan, 140 million so-called “WISeFarmers” will be able to trace the shipment of a bag of fertilizer all the way from the factory where it is produced until it arrives at its final destination. The program will connect distributors and customers and verify the location and origin of shipments, using digital identity and Internet of Things technologies.

The fertilizer-focused initiative will provide farmers with a cryptographic smart card that can be paired with a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. Farmers will then be able to authenticate and received tailored data from Indian Potash, with deliveries tracked through an “intelligent trusted code” embedded into a fertilizer bag.

More than 200 distribution channels will also be brought into a trusted network, and the bags themselves will feature a digital certificate of authenticity. The companies said the concept is based on the principle of a traditional paper-based certificate, but the switch to digital means such paperwork can no longer be forged.

In addition to providing cradle to grave digital identity through its Aadhaar program, the nation of India has made significant investments in digital infrastructure as part of the “Digital India” program. One of the government’s core initiatives is to make it easier for companies to do business in India with digital services and security.