Traceability for fresh food
Food production has become a global focus. Nine billion people need to be fed by 2050. The danger that natural resources will not be able to provide sufficient capacity for further demand is growing. Good agricultural practice (GAP) is urgently needed to balance this disparity. The market and the consumer require more data and information on food. It should be fresh, safe, not too costly and regionally sourced. Despite the plethora standards and labels, food production is not transparent.
In keeping with its philosophy “transparency first” KIAG started its new subdivision on sustainability by implementing an integrated service on food production. The program is supported by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the context of a develoPPP approach. Its target is to support farmers in South-East-Asia in their transition from conventional to sustainable farming including organic practices. The ASEAN market is booming and requirements are constantly increasing based on a growing middle class and changing food habits. Furthermore local farmers need to be qualified to follow a systematic process in order to deliver quality and quantity.
In 2012 KIAG started the WeTrace network (www.wetrace.org) in the Philippines (see video) and Vietnam to elaborate appropriate services for different groups of farmers — small holders in the Philippines with limited access to the market, commercial farmers in Vietnam who mainly deliver to metropolitan areas and exporters. WeTrace includes a mobile app to trace the entire dynamic production, as well as a qualification program to achieve a better professional foundation. WeTrace offers the following activities within the supply chain:
- Use a tailored app in the particular language according to relevant national and international agricultural standards such as GAP
- Follow the dynamic app structure to document the food production for individual crops in order to be fully transparent and compliant with requirements
- Attend field training by local experts and farm assurers to understand requirements and new technologies for sustainable production
- Use the off-line function of the mobile app to review and reinforce the learning content illustrated by micro-videos, picture language, symbols and other learning features
- Use the business intelligence features to correlate, evaluate, visualise and interpret the collected data and information
The app is used to document daily activities, even by small farmers. This provides the basis for full traceability. Government organisations are forced to improve food quality on regional scale. Buyers are required by consumers to provide more transparency for food. And farmers learn to establish a system for sustainable agriculture. Farmers, buyers and government organisations have adopted the integrated service to extend their respective outreach. Civil society can now take advantage of dynamic food traceability.