Digitization in traceability: A platform for agricultural products to join the global supply chain

VCN - Vietnamese agricultural products have been present in nearly 200 countries and territories, helping the export turnover of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products to reach more than US$53.22 billion in 2022. However, to quickly join the global supply chain, Vietnamese agricultural products must meet the requirements and regulations set forth by importing countries, including traceability.
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Digitization in traceability: A platform for agricultural products to join the global supply chain
The principle to manage traceability is that we control all information from the farm to preliminary processing, packaging, processing, storage, transportation, distribution, and consumption. Photo: NH

Not just a stamp

At the forum "Promoting digitization in the traceability of agricultural products - food" held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and other units on February 28, Nguyen Quoc Toan, director of the Center for digital transformation and agricultural statistics (MARD), said that traceability was one of the eight key issues in digital agricultural transformation.

"State management in the agricultural product traceability is to serve, meet the requirements of international integration, and improve the transparency, the accountability for the commodity industry, and the interests of farmers. With those values, the traceability system is not just a stamp; it is the responsibility of producers, the trust of consumers and, by extension, the accountability of the agricultural sector," said Toan.

According to Toan, Vietnam has 19,000 agricultural cooperatives, 14,200 agricultural enterprises, 7,500 agricultural processing establishments, 9,400 supermarkets and first-class markets. This is the basic information that constitutes big data of the agricultural industry. Therefore, traceability must be general and specific. Additionally, agriculture has too many components, especially the production stage. Therefore, the agricultural sector will build technology with a roadmap. Officially exported products will be prioritized for application and attention to the domestic market.

Nguyen Hoai Nam, a representative of the Center for digital transformation and agricultural statistics, said that the MARD's traceability system was being officially installed and operated at the address: http://checkvn.mard.gov.vn/ It has built three main modules includes: traceability portal; the system for managing and updating information and data on traceability for state management agencies and enterprises; allows exploitation and use by mobile applications in searching, tracing, and looking up product origin information.

Up to now, the system is connecting and sharing data with eight traceability systems in eight provinces and cities; and there are more than 3,964 enterprises with traceability codes of 16,987 agricultural and food products.

Compared with the National public service system, Nam said that for the traceability system at the MARD to work effectively, we need the connection and guidance of the National traceability portal. Therefore, he suggested that traceability of agricultural products in particular and other products, in general, should be built and developed in the direction of connection, interconnection, and concentration.

Build a national database on growing area codes and packing facilities

According to Huynh Tan Dat, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department (MARD), the principle to manage traceability is controlling all information from the farm to preliminary processing, packaging, processing, storage, transportation, distribution, and distribution and consumption. To ensure that, the Plant protection department has issued all conditions to ensure food safety under the management of the MARD (plant foods). Accordingly, farms or packing establishments wishing to register for codes must comply with the importing country's requirements. Code registration is voluntarily.

Dat also emphasized that the assessment was the basis for issuing codes or maintaining and recovering codes. The importing country must recognize the code. The number issued must comply with the conditions of the importing country and must be supervised by the regulatory authority to maintain the code. The Plant Protection department is building package management software at the address: https://cms.packinghouse.online. Packers can contact the department for a trial account.

In addition, the department has built a national database on planting area codes and export packing facilities. The system is used for management agencies (the Plant protection department and local focal points) and the data is connected to the "Field Diary". In the future this will be "packaging facility management" software.

"When implementing these database systems, we collaborate with many experts to well control problems related to growth and development, from productivity and output of plants to the development of harmful or risky situations during production, preliminary processing, processing, and storage," said Dat.

On behalf of the enterprise that inspects 50,000 tons of honey to the US each year, Henry Bui, General Director of Hoan Vu Science and Technology Co., Ltd., said that Hoan Vu was the unit that has more than 3,000 batches of dragon fruit going to markets, of which 2,700 batches of dragon fruit have been inspected in the EU market annually. Hoan Vu is also the only unit that inspects 50,000 tons of honey exported to the US market every year and 100% of this product is not returned because it meets the importing country's strict regulations on antibiotics and chemicals.

Accordingly, this enterprise can secure the global supply chain by authenticating the origin of agricultural products - food. Specifically, Hoan Vu Lab can test and verify the origin of many fruits exported to the European market, the test results are equivalent to German laboratories; authenticate organic vegetables using the EA-IRMS device; authenticate, and trace the geographical origin of coffee by isotope ratio method; authenticate the geographical origin of organic rice; distinguish between farmed and wild tiger shrimp by stable isotopes; authenticate the origin of organic fertilizers by nitrogen stable isotope analysis method; and authenticate fake wine, beer. The stable isotope analysis technology opens the way for the era of the authenticity of agricultural products and all types of food.

According to Henry Bui, for "strict" markets such as the EU, the US, and Australia, traceability is an important link in the standard system of imported goods, requiring a close connection between building the supply chain of livestock and agricultural products and traceability.

By Xuan Thao/ Ha Thanh

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