New blockchain tech key to cost savings for Northern mango producer
A new blockchain platform has proven to be a game-changer for one of Australia's largest mango producers, providing real-time, secure information from the tree to the supermarket.
The digital platform was developed and tested as part of a 2.5-year Smart Supply Chain pilot project co-funded by the Cooperative Research Center for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) in partnership with blockchain experts Trust Provenance (T-Prov), mango producer Manbulloo and industry group Growcom.
During the trial T-Prov and Manbulloo co-designed a platform which integrated all the systems and information Manbulloo identified as critical touchpoints along their supply chain. Real-time data, such as time, temperature and location were tracked, transmitted and uploaded to the blockchain where Manbulloo and other supply chain participants could then access the information through a dashboard interface.
Manbulloo's quality manager Scott Ledger said integrating data and quality assessments along the chain meant the business could now rely on one, secure and centralized system which provided instant traceability.
"In the past, each chain partner used their own system to identify and trace product, which resulted in duplication and extra costs. We are implementing the GS1 Australia standard for product ID and traceability so the members of our supply chain can use the same product ID system. This will not only save time and costs but also reduce human errors and wastage," Mr Ledger said.
T-Prov's Andrew Grant said a critical success factor for the project, was working with Manbulloo and their supply chain, logistics and retail partners to identify, map and manage information along the system.
"The blockchain technology means the creator of the data retains ownership of the data and once it's captured it's locked down and can't be altered or interfered with. This provides greater transparency and provides horticultural and agricultural producers with a great platform to showcase a product's provenance and quality assurance. Post COVID-19 being able to provide real-time data on where a product has come from and how it has being managed along the supply chain will become increasingly more important to producers, retailers and consumers, especially in export markets," Mr Grant said.
A fact not lost on Scott Ledger from Manbulloo.
"The drive for food security and safety, coupled with the COVID-19 restrictions, has made information integrity and real-time availability of information, more important now than ever, and I would encourage anyone in our industry to move along this path. Without a doubt, this project has been transformational for us—with identified cost savings, ROI and less wastage—we will continue developing more insights and data integrations and look to implement the systems across our export supply chains," he said.
Growcom Manager Policy and Advocacy Richard Shannon said reducing complexities and improving efficiencies was critical to the future economic performance and sustainability of the horticulture sector.
"Growcom is committed to supporting research and development focused on achieving these commercial outcomes and assisting industry to meet future challenges," Mr Shannon said.
"The supply chain project provides a crucial tool enabling local farmers to share the benefits of their produce directly with consumers. We believe better traceability systems will reward farmers with higher returns in the market, that reflect the investments they're making in more sustainable, safe and ethical production practices."
CRCNA CEO Jed Matz said the project had exceeded expectations with the team to hold a series of webinars with industry to discuss their work and findings.
"As far as an industry-led collaboration this has been the gold standard. T-Prov, Manbulloo and Growcom have taken a concept and tested it in a real commercial environment with all the challenges that come with that and have delivered a model which can be expanded across to other horticulture and agriculture sectors," he said.