Implementation of a traceability system for agricultural products along the value chain in the Philippines
KIAG implemented a computer-based system for the traceability of agricultural products along the entire commodity chain in some regions of the Philippines.
This pilot project aims to improve the quality as well as the marketability of agricultural goods. Large supermarket chains (e.g. Metro Gaisano) are involved, offering a no charge option for farmers compared to other certification schemes.
With the involvement of a multi-stakeholder group, criteria for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are defined for selected products. A traceability system is introduced to meet these criteria. An extensive training program is put in place to ensure qualification of everyone involved, in which selected participants receive additional education in order to become Trainers or “Compliance Officers”.
The trainers are responsible to train the farmers in their federations and areas. Compliance officers inspect and monitor the farmers practice and if necessary, improve it through further trainings.
Project Measures and Activities
Establishment of a „National Technical Working Marketing Group (NTWMG)“
The “National Technical Working Marketing Group” (NTWMG), as a forum of a transparent multi-stakeholder dialogue, supports the implementation of GAP. Actors involved have relevant knowledge already, and are well prepared in order to fulfil a structural change with regard to their acquisition and purchase structure. This includes the Department of Agriculture, but also producers, logistic firms, traders, buyers and retailers as well as farmer foundations and local chambers.
The definition of local GAP-Criteria
A sub-group of the NTWMG, with support of international experts, is responsible to define the requirements and regulations for the adjusted GAP-Criteria referring to the production as well as the downstream processes, like e.g. transportation and conditioning.
The focus of the project is on three critical control points:
- The entire input (seed, fertilizer, water supply) needs always to be pre-defined
- The integrated pest management is the major part of an internal control system to minimize chemical residues
- The post-harvest procedures, mainly the way of transport, assure or risk the final productivity and food safety procedures
In addition to those control points, the following aspects are of high importance for sustainability:
- The environmental concerns (soil, water, air) shall assure natural resources in a durable way and to keep biodiversity
- Socio-economic factors shall lead to stable survival, further qualification and future perspective for the next generation
Implementation of a capacity building program
Local farmers are invited to training sessions. The duration of the trainings is between 2-8 days, a complete training-cycle is generally between 10 to 14 weeks. The time limit of theoretical part is usually a maximum of 3 hours. After this, use-oriented exercises take place on the field. The sequence of trainings is planned as follows:
Training of Multipliers (Trainer and Compliance Officer): First of all, at least 40 multipliers, or in other words, disseminators get trained. Later on, the multipliers are responsible to train and advise the farmers. Thereafter, about 25 multipliers are farmers, acting as trainers, and about 15 Persons have the function as compliance officers.
Trainings for Farmers in the Pilot-Regions „Central Visayas” and “Luzon”: After the initial training of Multipliers and Compliance Officers, know-how will be distributed. The skilled trainers are implementing trainings for farmers in their federations as well as in their working areas.
The Use of Compliance Officers for Inspection, monitoring, and advisory: The Compliance Officer are employed by the project and deployed to inspect the farmers participating and using the traceability system. Further, they are responsible to advice and work with the farmers in case they recognize critical control points.
Development of a Traceability System for the Supply Chain
Based on the defined criteria a traceability system for data of every delivery of products was developed and tested. The relevant data comprise of basic data on the one hand (location of the farm, farm size, conditions, agricultural produce, etc.) and production data on the other hand (exact production volume, quality, delivery dates, etc.). This represents, compared to other certification schemes, a cost-efficient solution based on standardized software components. This solution offers the option for subsequent extensions in the future. Every delivered agricultural product can be traced by a system consisting of user-friendly Web- and App-technologies. The analysis of the data is easy to comprehend and offers the associated actors to increase the capability of farmers as well as to define recommendations in order to improve and/or extend the production.
The system represents the common international requirements and practices of GAP for the traceability of products. This includes input, plant care and plant cultivation, pest management, harvesting processes, processing of products, transportation as well as the presentation in the retail.
Reports and analyses are a result, documenting the traceability of product in relation to the requirements of the different stakeholders. Hence, typical key figures referring to quality, volume and risk as well as trends, are presented in measurable numbers and symbols.
Raising Awareness of the Public (Consumer, Retail etc.)
While the financial incentives (improved prices through better quality) will be easily understood by the farmers, this project also aims to facilitate acceptance of improved product quality by the consumer. This should be facilitated by the use of the much developed technical infrastructure and the great distribution of mobile devices among consumers in the Philippines. The local marketing campaigns have the opportunity to spread knowledge as well as the awareness about quality along the entire value chain among the consumers.