OriginTrail Protocol Will Become the Foundational Blockchain Layer for the New Food Integrity…
“Blockchain technology is set to feature strongly at a new Vietnam Food Integrity Centre (FIC), which aims to improve standards in a nation that has been rocked by safety and hygiene scandals in the recent past,” FoodNavigator Asia wrote. OriginTrail is proud to become one of the partners in this newly formed multiple-stakeholder organization, which is on a mission to strengthen food safety, monitoring and surveillance by improving data management and adopting new technologies.
Born Global: Announced in Belfast and Incorporated in Vietnam to Cater to One of the World’s Largest Food Chains
The Food Integrity Center (FIC) was first announced at the Belfast Summit on Global Food Integrity on May 31, 2018. John G. Keogh, internationally recognized strategist and advisor on using standards and technology in supply chains, and recently-appointed Trace Alliance chairman, introduced the FIC and signed a Letter of Intent with the summit’s chairman Prof. Chris ElliottOBE, one of the most respected global thought leaders in food chain integrity. Prof. Elliott and Queen’s University Belfast will take an active role in the FIC with a strategic partnership including knowledge sharing, training/education, and joint-research projects. As Prof. Elliott noted “the Vietnam FIC will become a key part of our global food integrity strategy and a regional base”.
The FIC is significant on a global scale as Vietnam is one of the 15 largest agricultural exporters in the world. The World Bank reports that the country has emerged as one of the world’s leading exporters of agro-food commodities and is among the top five for aquatic products, rice, coffee, tea, cashews, black pepper, rubber, and cassava. According to Trading Economics, Vietnam exports surpassed 21 billion USD in March 2018 alone. In the last few years, Vietnam’s exports have doubled. The country’s main export partners are:
Minh Hieu, who did an extensive overview of agricultural exports of Vietnam, shares some of the most fascinating examples that will help us understand how Vietnam’s food production is significant on a global scale:
- Vegetable and fruit exports reached their highest ever peak of US$3.45 billion in 2017. Most vegetable and fruit exports from Vietnam go to China, the largest importer with more than a 75% market share.
- Vietnam is also the second-largest coffee exporter in the world, behind Brazil, taking up 10.5 percent of global exports of this commodity, including sourcing for big global brands such as Nestle, Kraft Foods and Lavazza.
- Vietnam has been the number one cashew exporter for the past 12 years, processing more than 50 percent of the world’s output.
Despite these impressive statistics, the World Bank points out that food safety should be addressed very seriously In Vietnam: “Food safety is of a great concern to both consumers and policymakers and frequently appears in media … and in policy discussions. This is the result of repeated episodes of adulterated and unsafe food.“ The country suffered several export restrictions due to insufficient food safety testing (reports of excessive pesticide residues, overuse of antibiotics and multiple instances of food contamination). The Vietnamese National Strategy for Food Safety has five major objectives: improve knowledge and practice on food safety, strengthen the capacity of the food safety management system, significantly improve food safety at facilities for producing and procession the food, significantly improve food safety at retail and effectively acute food position. The FIC will operate as a public-private partnership, and, through donor funding, it aims to build capacity and improve the integrity of Vietnam’s food chain. A key goal is to address as many as 14 out of the 21 recommendations made by The World Bank in a recent report on Vietnam’s food safety risk management.
OriginTrail Will Be the Go-To Data Exchange Tech Solution for International FIC Members
Accordingly to FoodNavigator Asia, the new center will seek to strengthen national food safety monitoring and surveillance and improve data management. With one of its main focus areas being traceability, the center will help industry players to develop a “farm-to-fork” food supply chain approach which aligns with GS1 Vietnam under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Knowledge and awareness of traceability and regulators compliance will be enhanced, along with a greater focus on communication, interoperability, applying new technologies and industry standards. The centre will be located in the same building as the Hoan Vu analytical laboratory initially and has started to cater to startups and SMEs who struggle with know-how and are dependent on middlemen or intermediaries to go to market. The FIC will assist with new product development, branding, packaging and the verification of credence claims like “pesticide-free” or “organic.” By bringing together various international stakeholders, the FIC will enhance safety, credibility, accountability, transparency and trust to food supply chains.