How TraceX Empowered Nendran Banana Farmers for European Exports

Challenges 

The farming sector, like many others, faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nendran banana farmers in Kerala encountered difficulties in realizing accurate values for their produce. Export quality certification and traceability issues hindered their profits, prompting the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council of Kerala (VFPCK) to take action. 

Solution 

Targeting Europe, VFPCK aimed to export the local favorite and enhance Indian farmers’ profitability. To overcome challenges and achieve export standards, they sought the assistance of TraceX blockchain-based traceability solutions. 

Result 

The VFPCK export project digitized the whole production practice for 10-ton Nendran banana production with post-harvest data in the year 2020-21. It also empowered consumers with information, making Nendran bananas a sustainable and trusted choice in the European market. 

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The collaboration between VFPCK and TraceX Technologies, driven by the challenges, resulted in a digitized and transparent supply chain for Nendran bananas. The ongoing partnership ensured real-time monitoring, adherence to quality certifications, and a seamless journey from cultivation to the hands of consumers. 

Nendran bananas hold significant importance in the international export market, particularly in regions like Kerala, India. The importance of Nendran bananas in the international export market lies in their unique characteristics, cultural significance, GI status, and alignment with global food trends. Efforts to address challenges and meet export standards, coupled with strategic marketing approaches, position Nendran bananas as a sought-after commodity in the global marketplace. 

Challenges in the Banana Sector

The Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council of Kerala (VFPCK), a governing body aimed at promoting the state’s horticultural produce, sought strategies to address the certification and traceability issues affecting Nendran banana farmers. The VFPCK aimed to boost exports and fetch better prices by leveraging geographical indications, ensuring the Nendran Banana’s reputation for quality. 

The global farming sector encountered unprecedented challenges, and Nendran banana farmers in Kerala, India, were no exception. The intricacies of the challenge were twofold.  

  • Firstly, farmers struggled to accurately determine the value of their produce due to impediments in obtaining export quality certification.  
  • Secondly, traceability issues prevented farmers from monitoring their produce’s journey through the value chain effectively. 

The entire process, from pre-harvest activities like crop planting and disease control to post-harvest processes, demanded meticulous coordination. With a lack of visibility into the various stages of the banana’s journey, the need for digital technologies became evident. 

TraceX Solutions

TraceX’s comprehensive solution connects farmers, agro-advisory teams, and processing/export units. This ensures real-time tracking of banana production from farms to processing centers. Post-harvest activities can be recorded using the application, addressing the need for transparency.

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TraceX solutions play a crucial role in various stages of farm management, crop management, and the overall journey of bananas from cultivation to export. 

Trace Gro – Pre-Harvest Solution

Farmer Profiling 

A total of 16 planters were profiled across 10 villages of the Thrissur district of Kerala under the export project.  Each planter was assessed for their landholding information for banana cultivation.  

Geo-Mapping of farms 

Tracking the Farm produces is made easy with TraceX  application allowing each harvest connected to Geo-coordinates and unique barcode number. The produces grown in a particular location are tracked based on the geocoordinate captured for each farm holding and their crop cultivation information by planters. The Nendran begin the geographical indicator crop is supported with authentic geo coordinate to ensure the product origin. The VFPCK field agent captured the 20 Geo maps of farms accounting for 10 hectares growing area under the export project.  

Package of practices 

Cultivating safe produce needs a strict follow-up on the best practices. The standard production practices are derived with expert advisory in the production loop. Communicating the standard practices between the advisors and planters was possible on a single digital platform. 

The solution ensures the scheduled field activities as per the standard package of practices applied based on the crop assigned to each farmer. 33 field activity-based POP for Nendran banana production as identified and applied to each of the selected farmers recognized under the VPFCK export farmer groups. The individual planter was followed up on the practice and field condition to keep a tab on the quality of produces in the real-time scenario with regular interactions between the planter – field agents and  advisors. Complete crop management, pest and diseases management, and bunch management were tracked until the harvest time points.  

Trace Pro- Post Harvest Solution

The export qualities produce demand the meeting of the post-harvest process quality adherence. The banana upon harvest was subjected to cleaning and sorting with various treatments to ensure the safe produce reaches its destination. Each of these processes is detailed with quality parameters to ensure the standard are achieved. The solution  provided an option to capture the post-harvest process executed at the Packhouse with requisite quality parameters for traceability. The product sailed through the sea route for its destination and were available in various super market across UK. The  banana on shelves  was provisioned with a unique QR code for end consumers to scan, know the origin and provide their feedback for exporters to undestand the demand and supply were met 

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Benefits of TraceX Solutions

  • The platform enables real-time monitoring of pre-harvest activities, ensuring that farmers follow recommended practices. 
  • It facilitates recording-keeping for pre-harvest activities, helping farmers adhere to the prescribed package of practices. 
  • The solution streamlines post-harvest processes, reducing inefficiencies and optimizing resource usage. 
  • It ensures timely procurement of bananas, minimizing delays and enhancing overall supply chain efficiency. 
  • The platform maintains thorough documentation required for quality certifications, aiding in the export of high-quality bananas. 
  • The Nendran banana from Kerala is GI-tagged and validating the sourcing claims on this platform was a boost to the export process. 
  • Consumers can scan the QR code to access detailed information about the product’s origin, dates, grade, and supply chain touchpoints, ensuring transparency. 

TraceX solutions contribute to the efficient management of banana cultivation, adherence to quality standards, streamlined supply chain processes, and the creation of a transparent and traceable journey for the end consumer. This comprehensive approach enhances the overall value chain of banana production and export. 

Key Takeaways

The complete digitization of the planter information, farm location of banana production, field practices with standard operations, safe way to harvest, and post-harvest process with cleaning, grading, packing, and shipping was captured on the TraceX application The application provides a single unique QR code for tracking the origin of products for the end consumer with feedback provisions. The banana reached its export destination via ship route with all goodness of healthy information. 

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