The future of global agricultural exports lies in a universal system of digitised and fully secure data capturing, sharing, authenticating and storage.
Technologies like serialised labelling, cloud-based databases, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) are making digital traceability systems more accessible and user-friendly.
Anyone along the supply chain, with permission to view the information, can instantly access detailed reports about a product’s status and movements and can potentially link a consumer with the original producer. These technologies can support businesses by:
- securing data and intellectual property
- improving biosecurity
- enhancing food safety
- proving a product comes from Victoria, or Australia
- confirming product claims like Halal, organic or sustainable
- improving market access
- preventing food fraud
- improving supply chain efficiency
- verifying product quality.
Keeping track of produce using traceability technologies
By digitally tracing a product from paddock to plate, its journey is logged in a secure data trail. Products can be monitored for a range of information, including temperature in transit, as they move along the supply chain.
The traceability technology must by interoperable, which means it easily connects with other systems across the supply chain, both domestically and internationally. Some software licensing restrictions don’t allow connection with other technologies which can cause issues when trying to share information.
The long and complex supply chain of food products makes it hard for people to know how their food was handled along its way to them. For example, extreme temperature variances in the supply chain can lead to food spoilage and increased potential for foodborne illnesses.
Data shared through effective digital traceability systems tells manufacturers, retailers and consumers everything they want to know about their food – its origin, where and how it was processed, and the features of the brand. Some more advanced systems can also verify the quality of a product, helping reduce the potential for food fraud.
The world’s fibre industry is under increasing pressure to prove claims of origin and be both more transparent and aware of its environmental impacts.
Digital tracing stops fraudulent claims about topical credence values like sustainability.
Consumers and manufacturers can easily access data to confirm the origin and quality of a fibre product.
Victoria’s cattle, sheep and goat industries are already using electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) ear tags to electronically capture movement of animals along the supply chain. This digital data can be accessed quickly during biosecurity and livestock contamination emergencies to contain incidents and protect market access.
The commercial opportunities of electronic identification on livestock-producing properties and elsewhere in the supply chain are specific to the individual businesses. Applications include the accurate and efficient recording of production information and veterinary treatment details, as a way of inventory management and replacing paper-based processes like carcass ticketing in abattoirs.
Improving productivity using digital traceability
Digital tracing can help improve farm management practices by:
- tracking and tracing farm inputs
- integrating with crop growth monitoring
- recording harvest dates and location
- logging temperature in transit
- tracking the movement of produce along domestic and global supply chains.
Digital tracing can also:
- reduce the costs of farming inputs such as fertiliser
- monitor soils to improve yield
- help estimate shelf life
- improve a product’s quality through enhanced monitoring along the supply chain
- reduce food waste on-farm and along the supply chain.