A Passport to More Transparency
Sitting in a restaurant, eating a nice meal and being waited on is no doubt very enjoyable. Cooking events, however, are enjoying growing popularity of late. That is because people not only wish to eat the meal, they want to observe how it is prepared. The same is also true of the value chain. People want to understand where fresh produce is coming from and how it was grown.
Considering that sourcing and distribution of fresh produce has become more complex, the need for a transparent value chain has never been greater. Bayer wants to further improve traceability from farm to fork. And this is, in fact, already a major element of our core business at Food Chain Partnership – helping farmers, especially smallholders, to make their growing process more transparent while also helping them implement good agricultural practices.
A passport that also gives advice
Seven years ago, we developed the Bayer Field Passport. It’s a simple paper-based tool, actually not so different from the passport used when traveling. In this booklet, farmers can document their entire growing process, such as which crops they’ve been growing, when they started planting, the number and dosage of applications, and, eventually, their yield. This kind of data is very valuable for processors and distributors, not to mention the end consumer – because it allows them to know exactly where the food is coming from and how it was produced, thus enabling transparency.
In addition to thorough documentation, using the Field Passport provides farmers with other benefits. It gives advice on good agricultural practices, for example by providing information on how to use crop protection products safely and which products are best for treating diseases. Moreover, making the growing process more transparent is an important step toward receiving certification, which – as I discussed in my last blog – is crucial for entering new markets.
We have proved how well this simple tool works and helped farmers in India, Malaysia, and China. In India, we’ve worked with 8,500 smallholders – vegetables, fruits, or rice growers – and successfully raised awareness about good agricultural practices.
Global Head of Food Chain Relations at Bayer Division Crop Science
Keeping up with digitization in agriculture
Considering the new advancements in technology, we’ve decided to take this process one step further. We’re developing an app that will allow farmers and retailers to better keep track of their produce, which will make the value chain even more transparent. We’re currently testing the Digital Field Passport in Greece and India and we will make it soon available to smallholders in other countries.
Being able to provide simple tools that improve the transparency of the value chain makes me extremely proud. Everybody – farmers, processors, retailers, distributors, and, of course, the end consumer – will benefit from higher transparency and traceability because these are fundamental aspects when producing safe and sustainable food.
Here you can learn more about Food Chain Partnership.