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Growers sought to help support fruit traceability research

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The full version of this article appears in the AFG Winter 2022 edition.

Apple and pear growers are being invited to submit expressions of interest to participate in new research to help improve fruit traceability.

Agriculture Victoria Research (AVR) is looking for growers to help test orchard measurement systems to support a finer level of fruit traceability, from the tree to consumer, as part of its Traceability Foundations research project.

Agriculture Victoria Technology Development Leader, Kieran Murphy, said there would be no cost to growers interested in participating in the Traceability Foundations research project.

“We would register a certain section of an orchard and that could just be a row,” Kieran said.

“AVR will manage all inputs – growers will only be required to provide access to a section of the property, and it will be voluntary for them to be hands-on in trialling the technology.

“We want to field test mobile applications to support exchanges of information to and from the orchard.

“The results of the research will contribute to broader traceability systems deployment. There is no ongoing system deployment as part of the research at this stage.”

AVR has procured Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that will identify individual trees and allow researchers to explore traceability from an individual tree or piece of fruit, and all of the associated attributes that went into producing that piece of fruit.

Researchers will be using Global Standard 1 (GS1) standards. The GS1 labelling standards for bar codes, QR codes and RFID are the most widely adopted across many industries.

The research is acting on findings and recommendations from the Hort Innovation research project, ‘Technology review for fruit traceability at every stage of the Apple and Pear fruit production and supply chain’ (AP19004).

The project found the industry’s traceability systems are fragmented, and there are no whole-of-chain fruit traceability systems.

Bolstering traceability systems for the industry will help reduce supply chain costs, improve market access through enhanced biosecurity and food safety processes, and reduce food fraud.

Growers interested in submitting an EOI can contact Kieran Murphy via email: Kieran.Murphy@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Acknowledgement: AFG magazine content is partially delivered under the National Apple and Pear Communications Project (AP21000) which is funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear R&D levy and funds from the Australian Government and is delivered by APAL.

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