Italy to Tap Blockchain Technology to Tackle African Blood Orange Problem
According to a report by Food Navigator published on December 20, 2019, Italy-based consortium – the ROUGE Project – has decided to tap blockchain technology to tackle Sicilian blood orange food fraud.
Blockchain Technology to Tackle the Blood Orange Mess
In a bid to boost transparency in the food supply chain, Italy is reportedly affixing high-tech tags to crates of PGI Sicilian blood oranges that largely flow into the country through the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.
The move comes after several reports emerged stating that batches of blood oranges from South Africa were being passed off as Sicilian blood oranges of protected geographical indication (PGI). The ROUGE Projects – an acronym for Red Orange Upgrading Green Economy – is an initiative comprising various stakeholders including the Blood Oranges of Sicily PGI Consortium.
Reportedly, the consortium consists of more than 600 members including producers and packagers from around 6,500 hectares of certified cultivation. The Consortium is recognized by Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Policies which seeks to protect three varieties of African blood oranges: the Moro, Tarocco, and Sanguinello.
Per sources close to the matter, more than half of the blood oranges in Italy come from Sicily. Data from 2018 states that close to one million tons of blood oranges out of a total 1,622,000 tons came from Sicily.
Blockchain Solution to Track the Supply Chain
Italy-based tech firm AmlavivA will reportedly provide the traceability platform for the ROGUE project. The distributed ledger technology-enabled (DLT) supply chain traceability solution will enable the ROGUE project to maintain a secure digital ledger easily accessible by everyone.
The report adds that agri-supply chain research body CREA will collect production data to aid in the development of the DLT platform. Further, the University of Catania will help generate various business models based on primary data.
“Through an NFC [near-field communication]” tag affixed to the fruit crates, the app allows for [the] monitoring [of] the production field thanks to a system that geo-localizes the map supplied by a public source, the date of harvesting, and the conservation and distribution methods.”
Essentially, the NFC-chip affixed to oranges will retrieve the entire supply-chain journey of the African blood oranges which will help consumers make an informed decision about their purchases.
In related news, BTCManager reported in July 2019 how the Kenyan government had adopted DLT to track food products.