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TECHNOLOGY

APEDA develops integrated traceability system to facilitate farm regn
Monday, 04 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has developed Hortinet, an integrated traceability system, to provide Internet-based electronic services to the stakeholders for facilitating farm registration, testing and certification of grapes, pomegranates and vegetables for export from India to the European Union (EU) in compliance with standards.

To harness the potential of mobile technology, APEDA has developed a mobile app to allow farmers to apply online to facilitate their farm registration, tracking the status of application and approvals by the state government and lab sampling by authorised laboratories. This mobile app initiative is expected to increase the accessibility and reach of the traceability software system among the farmers and other stakeholders.

This new mobile app will also assist the state horticulture or agriculture department to capture the real-time details of farmers, farm locations, products and details of inspections, like the date of inspection and the name of the person inspecting directly from the field. After the registration and approval of the farm, the farmer gets approval information.

The key features of the app are:
    • Online farm registration application and status tracking
    • Processing and approval on on-line farmer applications by the state horticulture and agriculture department
    • Registration of farmers, farms and products by the state horticulture and agriculture department
    • Capture geo location of the farms registered through the app
    • Sample collection by APEDA-authorised laboratories along with geo location of the sample
Tarun Bajaj, general manager, APEDA, initiated the proceedings by outlining the new mobile app concept and its evolution.

D K Singh, chairman, APEDA, mentioned the various initiatives taken by APEDA in the past. These include the introduction of TraceNet for organics, AnarNet and GrapeNet  traceability software.

He cited the importance of the new mobile app, Farmer Connect, which is a giant leap in connecting the farmers through mobile networks for registration procedures at their comfort from any location.

Singh added that through this app, not only will the process of farmer and farm registration be convenient, but laboratory testing of product samples will also be easier.

The three dots in the Farmer Connect app logo signify the farmers, the state government and the laboratory, which are the essence of the app.

He also mentioned that the app would be launched in Hindi and Marathi, apart from English, so that it would be user-friendly.

Sumanta Chaudhary, managing director, Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), appreciated the new mobile app, and highlighted the areas of mutual cooperation between SFAC and APEDA through networking of clusters of farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and APEDA clusters.

The launch of the app by Rita Teaotia, commerce secretary, government of India, was followed by the display of a film depicting  all the facets of the utility of the new app.

She stated that while the total merchandise exports from India amounted to $435 billion, agriculture exports from the country were worth $34 billion USD.

“The level of agricultural exports is low, considering that we have an enormous population and most of what is produced is consumed domestically,” Teaotia said.

“Although we have a share of only 2.2 per cent, we are amongst the top 10 players in global agricultural trade,” she added.

“The efforts made by APEDA in promoting exports, especially the use of traceability software, has benefited Indian agricultural trade and ensured that importing countries get products of a high quality and standards that they desire,” Teaotia said.

“It is true that there could always be stray cases of failure of samples, which could have repercussions on the farmers,” she added.

“It is important for us to make the best use of technology, so that any problem areas are tracked and solutions found,” Teaotia said.

“The use of mobile app technology and traceability systems is a great tool in identifying the farmers and laboratories from where the produce was sourced and tested,” she added.

Teaotia advised that APEDA make all out efforts in enrolling a larger number of farmers and exporters through the new technology tool.

The commerce secretary added that there was a need to move towards the adoption of similar standards for the domestic market and export market, since the Indian consumer was not only expecting, but also entitled to, the best-quality product.

She suggested that the mobile app also be made available on IOS system, apart from Android, and that the app and other traceability systems should be made in vernacular languages for better understanding by users.

Rekha Mehta, assistant general manager, APEDA, proposed the vote of thanks.
 
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