Two New Reports Spotlight Food Traceability System Landscape
Capturing the origin and journey of a food ingredient and/or finished food product is a daunting yet critical task for food operators globally. Effective food traceability systems (FTS) provide food operators with a mechanism to track and share vital data to strengthen food safety, expand market access and improve supply chain efficiency.
Understanding what drives successful FTS adoption in developing and emerging markets is critical for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners to advance key U.S. government development goals, including the Global Food Security Strategy, USAID’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy and USAID’s Digital Strategy, which collectively point to the need for building capacity and developing transparency in global food systems alongside developing sound digital ecosystems.
In two newly released reports, the Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security (EEFS) project and the Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation (P4I) project offer USAID and its implementing partners practical insight into the factors driving FTS success, the unique challenges to FTS design and adoption in developing and emerging country contexts and the specific experiences of private sector agribusiness in connecting smallholder farmers to FTS digital technologies.
EEFS’ study, "The Enabling Environment for Traceability System Success: Assessing Factors that Support Food Safety, Quality, and Integrity," provides an overview of the conditions that must be present to support the successful adoption and implementation of FTS among food operators in developing countries. EEFS identifies and unpacks four factors for assessing the likelihood of FTS success.
1. Operator incentives: What are the traceability requirements within the regulatory regimes and standards schemes of a given food operator’s target market segment?
2. Operator capacity: Does this food operator have the financial resources and the operational capacity to integrate an FTS into a business model that meets their specific objectives?
3. Operator access to technology: Does an appropriate platform exist locally to meet the food operator’s specific objectives, and is the information and communication infrastructure (ICT) to implement a digitally enabled system in place?
4. Operator coordination: Are supply chain actors able and willing to share information between, at minimum, one’s immediate supplier and one’s immediate buyer?
EEFS provides USAID and its partners with a framework for determining whether a given country context will support successful FTS adoption in order to guide investments appropriately or, alternatively, what foundational investments are needed before FTS adoption can be pursued. To demonstrate the importance of these factors for success, EEFS presents several practical, rapid case studies of FTS initiatives in developing and emerging markets.
P4I’s report, "Funding Traceability Technology: Lessons Learned for Commercializing Traceability Software in Emerging Markets," draws on the experiences of two partners — Solutions S.A. and Farmforce — to provide on-the-ground insights into commercializing agricultural traceability software products for smallholder farmers and other value chain actors in Latin America.
Solutions S.A. is a Haitian information technology (IT) company that uses its proprietary AgroTracking system to strengthen the country’s mango export supply chain by enabling full, georeferenced traceability to the point of production. Farmforce, a company spun off from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, sells a traceability software product enabling agricultural companies to manage outgrower networks and trace products through the supply chain, among other functionalities.
P4I’s report provides a detailed look at the challenges each company faced in commercializing their traceability systems to assist smallholder farmers and other actors in meeting food safety and quality requirements. A number of unanticipated benefits for exporters, smallholders and the overall technology ecosystem are also captured.
Based on lessons from the two case studies, P4I’s report identifies five key drivers of agricultural traceability adoption and provides insights into use for broader learning and application in achieving USAID objectives for technology commercialization, including product diversity, market growth and smallholder access.
Together, the new reports from EEFS and P4I provide USAID, implementing partners, host country governments and private sector actors with key insights for supporting the expansion of successful food traceability technologies across developing and emerging markets to inform investment decisions and advance key U.S. government development goals.
Access the reports and additional information:
Presentation slides and recording, Feb. 3, 2021 webinar, “The Food Traceability System Landscape: Overcoming Challenges, Enabling Success”