You buy guavas from local superstore. They look fine, but when cut, you find worms inside. This is a common problem. These worms enter the product when it was only a flower and grow inside without showing any external signs. Superstore offers an apology, but no guarantee that you will not buy similar low quality products tomorrow. The supply chain is long and nobody is sure from where the stock comes from.
That is why ‘traceability’ matters. Food products are added more value by providing traceability information along with them.
Benefits of traceability to consumers are apparent. What about the rest? Do farmers too benefit?
These are some of the issues discussed at the two day workshop on Feb 21-22, on ‘Transaction Costs and Traceability: Potential of ICTs in the Agricultural Value Chain’ at Kandalama organized by LIRNEasia.
Visoot Phongsathorn presented information on agri value chains in Thailand and infrastructure regulations. Thailand has worked on agriculture traceability for sometime. Still the conditions are not necessarily satisfactory in case of shrimp and vegetables. The demand on food safety is not as high as it is in Europe but Thai government recognizes traceability as an integral part of quality infrastructure. The government sets the standards rather than waiting for private sector to do so. Yet there are still issues to be addressed.
Harsha De Silva of LIRNEasia raised the question of incentives. What is the incentive structure to make the traceability standards? What makes the standards sustainable? What makes everyone in the supply chain starting from farmers adhere to maintaining traceability standards? What do they get in return?
The answers with more information and presentations will be available soon at this space, but perhaps a better way to obtain the same at the LIRNEasia organisased Public Lecture on Feb 25 at Centre for Banking Studies auditorium.
Look here for more information.