Adoption of global standards in agri, food supply chain sought

·2 min read

THE business sector is pressing for the adoption and recognition of global standards in the supply chain to promote product safety and traceability, address pandemic-related risks and challenges and realize a smooth transition to the digital era.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), called on the government to “seriously consider globally accepted standards to develop not only trust in cross-border and domestic trade but also ensure consumer safety and protection.”

Roberto Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. and Philexport trustee for food sector, said compliance with global standards is particularly crucial in agriculture and food production.

“The Covid-19 pandemic halted further the growth and development which we would like to see in the food and agriculture sector,” he said. “For us to reach full throttle in agriculture, one very significant component is food and agriculture safety that can be met consistently through standards and traceability. Without any form of standard or criteria in the food supply chain, food security and self-sufficiency may not come to fruition for us.”

Amores called on producers, consumers, policymakers and the government to come together to develop and adopt global standards that will reduce the risk of contamination that poses a real threat to the country’s overall productivity.

GSI standards

Jesus Varela, chairman of GS1 Philippines, explained that GS1 standards are “the global language of business” for over a million companies doing business in more than 150 countries.

The GS1 standards were developed by GS1, a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication.

GS1 standards make inventory management efficient, help avoid wastages and losses, promote better trading partner relationships, enhance brands, eliminate identity theft and promote consumer safety and protection. The best known of these standards is the barcode, a symbol printed on products that can be scanned electronically.

“In this new digital age where unpredictability is the new normal, total supply chain visibility will be indispensable in tracking specific data related to orders and shipment to allow quick response should an adverse situation arise,” Varela said.

Traceability

Jim Leandro Cano, director for agritech at IT company 8Layer Technologies, said traceability cannot be done by a single individual but relies on multi-stakeholder partnerships to move forward.

He cited the benefits of traceability in Philippine agriculture such as ensuring food safety among consumers, improving the visibility of loss points and inefficiency in the supply chain, improving data collection, and establishing market transparency.

Traceability is also vital for farmers unable to get loans, as it will allow them access to new financial resources by enabling them to build records and become bankable, he said.

Traceability can also help create new value for producers, track environmental, economic, health and social metrics, and allow stakeholders to see the “true cost of food,” he said. (PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES)

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