Traceability is the process of tracking and tracing the movement of a product or ingredient along the supply chain, from its origin to the final consumer.
Traceability is crucial, as it helps ensure the quality and integrity of agricultural products. It also helps to backtrack information on every activity done in the production of products. This information typically includes the farm of origin, production methods, harvesting practices, transportation, storage conditions, etc. This detailed information should be recorded, as it ensures easy detection and retraction of faulty products from the market to prevent further damage.
Traceability could be upward, downward, or bidirectional.
Upper traceability involves going backward in the production line. That is, from the end of production to the beginning. For example, products to production, distribution to production, tray vegetables to the plots, etc.
Downward traceability creates the link between the products of a plot and the finished product shipped to the customer and distributed. It runs from the raw materials received from the supplier and follows the chain to the finished products delivered to customers.
Bidirectional traceability deals with a combination of both upward and downward traceability. A good traceability system should be able to move in both directions.
The traceability process could be divided into two parts: tracking and tracing.
Tracking involves knowing where a customer purchased a product and when it was delivered to them. Tracing focuses on how the product was produced (if a pesticide was used, what type of pesticides, duration of usage, time gap before it was harvested, etc.). The whole production process is followed
Tools for Traceability include: Blockchain traceability platform and Specialized traceability software
When implementing traceability systems, they must be adapted in line with customer demand, the business sector, and regulatory obligations. Four key principles are generally applied:
- Product Identification
- Link management
- Data storage
- Communication of information
There are certain challenges to implementing Traceability systems in Nigeria such as:
- Incomplete records
- A break in information
- Supply chain complexity
- Cost and resource implications
Regardless of these challenges, the benefits are immense. Some of them include:
- This ensures the quick removal of unsafe products from the market.
- It improves profitability.
- It provides transparency and accountability.
- It increases confidence in products offered for sale.
- It facilitates quality control processes throughout the supply chain.
- It improves brand identity and the service rendered to customers.
- It makes the production process visible.
In conclusion, Traceability is an important part of supply chain management. It is crucial for exportation and international trade. Many countries and importers have strict regulations and requirements regarding product traceability. Being able to demonstrate traceability enhances a product's credibility and reliability, increasing the chances of accessing new markets.
At FutuX Agri-Consult Limited, we guide agribusinesses in obtaining certifications needed for exportation our consultation allows agribusinesses to implement the necessary systems needed to meet the crucial requirement for export.