The food industry is a vital part of the global economy, with experts predicting it to reach $899 billion in sales by 2022. Fueling this growth are digital farming techniques and agriculture technology, which are crucial to:
- Ensuring overall food safety
- Reducing the danger of foodborne illnesses and contaminated food, which causes illness due to food poisoning in almost 1 in 10 people globally
- Lowering healthcare costs significantly as a staggering $110 billion per annum is wasted on productivity and medical expenses stemming from unsafe food, according to the WHO
- Building a secure and stable food supply chain ecosystem
These critical factors ultimately translate to a more robust economy, which is linked intricately to consumer confidence.
End-to-end data traceability – the nucleus of food safety
“Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining healthcare systems and harming national economies, tourism, and trade.” –WHO
The globalization of supply chains, frequent foodborne diseases, and the emergence of informed consumers have put food safety under a global lens. This has made it critical for agri-output companies to ensure seed-to-shelf traceability. Here’s how farm-to-fork traceability can help prove fruitful for food processing companies:
Understanding the food origin/source:
The traceability information can help identify where the food comes from and where it goes – at every stage of the food supply chain process (from manufacturing to distribution) based on the predefined objectives of food inspection and certification.
Traceability includes critical elements such as:
- Origin of food source
- Processing history
- Distribution details
- Location of the food product within the supply chain
How it helps: Traceability brings about increased visibility and control of the food product among stakeholders in the farm-to-fork journey.
READ MORE- Farm-to-Fork Traceability for Spice Business
Moving with proactiveness:
When an untoward incident occurs, traceability aids all stakeholders in responding quickly. For example, if a product needs to be recalled in the interest of public health and safety, food traceability doubles as a superpower to proactively provide support in case of any eventuality.
How it helps: This increased transparency enables consumers to see how reliable the system is and goes a long way to preserve the credibility of the agri-output company. It also drives informed decision-making about costs and market reach while building consumer trust.
Promoting a culture of preventing food adulteration:
Speaking in terms of prevention, food traceability identifies the source of a problem so that steps can be taken to ensure that it does not recur.
How it helps: The information gathered aids in the identification of areas for improvement and managing risks, making the process streamlined, profitable, and enhanced – every single time.
Need for transparency in the supply chain
The journey of farm produce from harvest to the consumer's table is a multifaceted and complex one. The supply chain network must be seamlessly connected to ensure no time is lost in the process because it will lead to the wastage of perishables.
Globally, a 13.3% loss of food was witnessed at farm post-harvest, transport, wholesale, storage, and processing in 2020, while the food loss index stood at 98.7 in 2016 and 101.2 in 2020. Fruits, vegetables, and cereals are the most affected. Various challenges impede cold-chain adoption, ranging from the cost of power to limited financing options, although cold chains can considerably reduce wastage.
Another way to overcome the challenges of wastage is farm-to-fork traceability, which ensures efficient supply chain management. It also enables 100% transparency for consumers, paving the way to loyalty.
A shift in consumer behavior
Farm-to-fork traceability is vital for any brand to gain the trust of today's informed consumers who seek info on:
- Location of production/the specific farm, farmers, etc.
- Stages in processing and products used therein
- Inputs used for growing such as feed, fertilizers, etc.
- Quantum of pathogens and pesticides used in production
- Quality checks at each stage of production
Importance of end-to-end food traceability
Traceability helps track the movement of food:
Food traceability enables the identification of sources for food contamination and fraud in the supply chain. This has unequivocal importance in food safety and helps to initiate a quick product recall, as it limits the scope to the affected batch only, which reduces loss. The absence of an efficient traceability system will have a devastating effect on the entire food ecosystem.
Components of food traceability
Food traceability comprises two components, namely:
Tracing (or upstream path) – Following the journey of farm produce from the source to the end user.
Tracking (or downstream path): Locates a farm product at a specific time in the production process, right from processing and distribution until it reaches the end consumer.
Technological innovations are a prerequisite to traceability
Farmer engagement is the key to ensuring traceability during the first stage of food production: farming. The use of technologies like GPS, remote sensing, satellite imagery, and blockchain, initiates the mapping of the supply chain.
The process starts with geotagging and farm digitization. This helps monitor farm practices that adhere to the package of practices (PoP) and provides insights into input usage. Agtech follows a systematic recording process that enables easy retrieval of this information as and when required. The digital record also acts as proof of Quality Compliance for exports and certifications.
Once the produce is ready for harvest, the farmer is advised on a harvest date, and required logistics are put in place to minimize loss. Post-harvest traceability is ensured by monitoring process and product movement within and from processing units.
Farm-to-Fork strategy: Traceability technologies that benefit consumers
According to the UNDP:
Understanding the role of technology to improve the farm-to-fork traceability journey
Benefit for end-consumer
Benefits for company
Access to a transparent and trustworthy food supply chain
Ability to track the origin of agriproducts
Accelerate agricultural industry growth
Safeguard data and prevent tampering via a centralized dashboard
Reduce supply chain vulnerabilities to inaccuracies and fraud
Biosensors combined with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
Access to high-quality food as these biosensors help:
Detect natural toxins and antinutrients for monitoring food processing
Detect genetically modified crops
It helps increase information accuracy and improve output quality
Improve operation speed and efficiency to minimize costs in labor and operation
Reduce losses in inventory
High-Resolution Satellite Imagery
Creates seamless satellite monitoring of crops and management of farms, paving the way for sustainable and ‘clean’ farming
Offers ground data from farms and weather warnings to help data-driven farm and business management
Relays critical information to farmers related to weather advisories, crop health, pest alert, and so on resulting in improved yields
AI/ML, Field Sensors, and Satellite Imaging
Boosts nutrition of farms and crops
Ensures adherence to compliance and high-quality standards
Allows benchmarking of key agricultural processes
Helps improve the overall harvest quality and accuracy through precision farming
Assists in disease and pest detection in crops as well as in detecting target weeds to understand which herbicide to use as a preventative measure
Detects cropping patterns and predicts the future of the crop, highlighting associated risk and opportunity
Big Data for Smart Farming
Boosts farm yields as well as end quality due to the right and timely decisions
Provides farmers with granular data on weather patterns, water cycles, fertilizer requirements, etc.
Enables farmers and companies to make smart decisions, such as which crops to plant for improved profitability and when to harvest them
Digitization of data with a Farm Digitization and Business Intelligence (BI) Solutions
Improved data capture accuracy, which boosts the production of quality products and ensures consumer health and safety
Improved farm productivity and profitability with data-driven decision making
Saves time arrests data leakage and manual error
Maximized per acre value and development of sustainable practices
Data Analytics Tools
Brings in transparency to consumers and builds trust
Meets certification standards for export while minimizing cultivation malpractices
Ensures adulteration-free goods
Provides access to predictive intelligence analytics and reports
Improves farm operations with actionable and real-time BI reports
Tech disruption from seed-to-shelf with intelligent Agtech solutions
Modern agriculture is a culmination of intelligent Agtech tools, digital farming, and trustworthy farmers' intuition and judgment. Cropin Trace is a 360-degree solution to bring end-to-end traceability across diverse farming processes. Using cutting-edge technologies such as AI, ML, and remote sensing, Cropin creates an intelligent, interconnected data platform, helping organizations digitize their operations from farm to fork.
Cropin, a full-stack Agtech platform, has partnered with over 250 organizations globally to digitize over 16 million acres of farmland and enrich the lives of about 7 million farmers.
The solution offered by Cropin captures real-time data on a single platform in immutable and decentralized ledgers to build a robust traceability system. This technology-supported traceability system integrates various stakeholders and helps companies adhere to quality compliance regulations, enhancing brand credibility and consumer confidence.
READ MORE- Technology-supported Honey-to-Hive Traceability
QR coding of the produce ensures anti-counterfeiting, manages traceability efficiently and maintains food integrity. The QR code provides product information at every stage of the product cycle and maintains a historical record of activities, which is accessible to the end consumer by a simple scan.
Cropin’s solution offers patented, tamper-proof QR codes that provide real-time visibility for supply chain transparency, increased operational efficiency, and end-to-end traceability.
The farm-to-fork traceability solution offered by Cropin ensures efficient supply chain management, curbs adulteration, and promises food safety and integrity.