Building An Agri-Food Supply Chain Traceability System is the need of hour

agri supply
Agri-Food Supply

The concept of food traceability has rapidly acquired the centre-stage. Right from the producers; suppliers to consumers are demanding 100% transparency in the sphere of food-supply chain systems. It can be defined as the ability of an enterprise to track the movement of its commodities from their very production until they are delivered to the end-user. It involves a keen eye on every aspect of the supply chain, be it acquiring storage of food materials, or transportation of items from one place to another.  

A globally accepted requirement to boost consumers’ reliability and standardisation of the food industry; traceability is gaining importance in the Indian market as well. Growing consumer awareness, increased fitness orientation and the need to comply with various regulations are the primary reasons behind its growing popularity. The sharp rise in health consciousness amongst citizens can be considered the silver lining of the virus outbreak. End consumers have become cautious about the food they consume. They now want to know every single detail about their consumable purchases. Products that offer them detailed information about their journey from the farm to the plate are preferred over their counterparts. Businesses today are not dealing with an ignorant consumer base; rather they are catering to the needs of an audience that believes in maintaining their fitness and well-being.  

Further, the sector has been perturbed by the frequent occurrence of multiple food frauds. These incidents such as tampering, adulteration, refilling, pilferage, diversion, and counterfeiting happen at every stage of the complex supply chains operating in the industry. As per a report published by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), India lost 40% of its food production due to faults in the supply chain. Patrons in the F&B industry like producers and aggregators are relentlessly making efforts to reduce such mishaps and establish a robust supply chain management system. In this endeavour, traceability plays a crucial role. With every step being monitored and tracked both food safety as well as control goals can be easily achieved. After all, it is one of those segments that has a direct impact on the lives of individuals.  

In this battle to seamlessly incorporate traceability, the myriad technological advancements are emerging as the most powerful weapons. The usage of AI and data analytics has changed the face of inventory management. Businesses can now reap the benefits of real-time information about the goods present in their warehouses; this helps them in meticulously dealing with problems of over and understocking. Further, such detailed management of inventory is highly beneficial for those individuals who deal in seasonal produce. 

AI is also being used to track the movement of commodities across the supply chain. Vehicles used for transportation are being installed with GPS devices and sensors. Apart from providing business owners with the exact location of the goods in transit, such equipment also helps drivers by offering them information such as availability of short cuts, warnings about traffic congestions, and intimation about alternate routes amongst others.   

By driving home transparency and visibility in the purview of the supply chain, traceability helps in neutralising errors. In case of any contamination or damage, these modern-day systems immediately notify the persons handling the procedure. This allows food providers to shorten their response time and allows them to recall faulty products before they reach the final consumers. Even if the items have reached multiple outlets spread across different cities, traceability enables an enterprise to easily identify the damaged offerings; simultaneously ensuring only high-quality products are available for public usage.  

The inclusion of traceability makes supply chains efficient. Besides, enhancing efficacy promotes the reduction of unnecessary expenditure and minimisation of losses. Food safety is not merely the responsibility of those in authority; instead, it is upon every individual to do their bit, so that the nation can walk together in its pursuit of health and well-being. 

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