Tracking food from the farm to the supermarket
ABRAS decided to embrace the challenge of helping the retailers to meet these new consumer expectations - 28 million consumers go to supermarkets every day in Brazil. In 2011, we created the Food Traceability and Monitoring Program (RAMA), focused on fresh vegetables, and committed to provide guaranteed, certified food with transparent nutritional information.
Currently, 56 retailers participate in the program, among them large chains (such as Carrefour and the Angeloni group) and about 32 thousand farmers. When supermarkets and farmers join RAMA, they have access to a large technological platform, managed by a third party company, which releases information about the production of products, as well as analyses the samples collected daily in supermarkets. The platform tracks where a product came from and where it goes; and assesses whether the farmer has used environmentally sound and sustainable management practices - for example, if the levels of crop protection comply with legal parameters and label instructions for use.
Since its launch, RAMA has analysed 5,816 samples of 42 types of fruit, 41 types of vegetables and 38 types of greens from more than 700 suppliers from 264 municipalities, representing 20 different states of the country. Thanks to the program, about 25% of all products marketed in Brazil are already traced. And, every year, the initiative expands. According to the most recent numbers released by ABRAS, 1,430,612 tons of food were tracked in 2018, 6% increase over the previous year.
Superintendent of the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS)
But the work does not stop here. We are looking very closely at the primary source of supply: the farmer. We signed a cooperation agreement with Bayer and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) this year to assist farmers with the implementation of traceability processes on their farms.
Through this partnership, started in June this year, Bayer will give access to BayG.A.P Program to approximately 32 thousand fruit and vegetable producers in the country. The online training is free and will cover topics such as certifications, food safety, and integrated pest management, among others. ABRAS is responsible for promoting the training and stimulating the participation of producers, and IICA, offers the course on its virtual platform to all interested farmers.
The initiative is in line with the Brazilian legislation of traceability along the production chain of fresh fruit and vegetable products focused on monitoring and controlling the use of agricultural crop protection products, implemented by the federal government in August 2018. Our goal is that all fresh fruits and vegetables in natura, which are destined to Brazilian final consumers, will be traced (from the production, through stocking and distribution logistics) either by using labels, barcodes or QRs code by February 2020.
We believe these initiatives are essential to ensure safe and healthy food at the table of Brazilians. ABRAS remains committed to supporting farmers, and that is why we join forces and partner with the industry and associations leveraging knowledge and information for the benefit not only of the sector activities but for the whole of society and the environment.