LEI researchers have unravelled various fresh produce supply chains at FarmDigital. The purpose of this is to provide IT experts and software developers with insight into data exchange. These insights have been summed up in a PowerPoint presentation and a detailed report. Youri Dijkxhoorn, author of the report and researcher at LEI Wageningen UR, explains.
Together with the FarmDigital project team, we have developed a model that provides an overview of all processes from the cultivation to the sale of a product. This includes the logistics, contract drafting, quality assurance and certification. We applied this generic model to three products, also known as 'use cases': melons from Costa Rica, grapes from South Africa and potatoes from the Netherlands. As regards the grapes from South Africa, we also identified all the documents needed for the different phases of the process.
Did no such model exist before?
No, not at such a detailed level. Models do exist to provide insight into chains, but they are not as specific as the one we created. Apart from that, it's a good idea to create a model like this yourself so that you can clearly understand the process. This model provides valuable information for IT experts and software developers concerned with the exchange of data in the fresh food sector. Our insights gleaned from the potato sector have been used by AgriPlace in another of FarmDigital's sub-projects in relation to a pilot platform for data exchange.
How did you collect the information?
As part of this project, we worked very closely with local partners in Costa Rica and South Africa. In addition, we also had a lot of contact with various Dutch players in the sector and also visited the warehouse owned by Levarht, an importer of melons. It was very interesting to see how products are labelled, which documents arrive with the boxes and at what moments other documents arrive by email or fax.
How can this model benefit companies in other fresh food sectors?
We have noticed that there are many similarities in how the three use cases work. So we expect the model to be useful for the entire fruit and vegetables sector and that we will be able to adapt it easily for other products.
What else will you be doing as part of this project?
As we now have a very clear picture of the process for South Africa, we will also look at how we could optimise the certification process. Once again, this could benefit other product groups.
Why are these use cases part of FarmDigital?
This model is a condition for achieving FarmDigital's ultimate objective which is to record data once only so that it can be shared with organisations that issue certifications and quality marks. This will save producers a considerable amount of time and money. FarmDigital wants to achieve this objective by developing and marketing an online infrastructure that will enable users to freely exchange information about certification data. An essential aspect of this is insight into how things are done in practice.
Click below for the powerpoint and report:
Powerpoint Presentation 'Use Cases FarmDigital'
Report 'Compliance to international certification schemes mapped'