Friday, December 15, 2017

eGrain electronic passport project secures green light for next stage

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

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The cereals industry has expressed strong support for a electronic grain passport which will eventually replace the current paper grain passport.

Responses to a six-month consultation on the eGrain Passport initiative were discussed at a Cereals Liaison Group meeting last autumn. Trade associations, individuals, groups and companies were largely in favour of adopting an electronic passport system.

A detailed, timetabled and fully-costed proposal for a GB-wide implementation of the electronic system – which has been drafted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board – will now be considered by the group at a further meeting next month.

The eGrain Passport was first mooted by in 2012 as a way to address shortcomings in the paper passport. Supporters say it will improve two-way information flow and enhance crop assurance, as well as ensuring the industry is prepared for future data or traceability requirements.

A pilot system was developed by AHDB following detailed discussions with farmers, merchants, hauliers, processors and off-farm stores. It was tested with live loads from 2014 to 2015, with four merchants, a miller, a maltster, 22 farms and nine haulage companies involved.

A report detailing the practicalities, costs, benefits and risks of a national electronic passport system identified during the pilot was put out to industry consultation last year. It estimated a return of £3 to the supply chain for every £1 spent on such a system over its its first ten years.

As part of the consultation, respondents were asked who should finance and manage the initiative. All but one respondent said the intiaitive should be AHDB-owned and funded by levy – at least until fully established.

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds sector strategy director Martin Grantley-Smith said: “An electronic grain passport system would be world leading and is set to bring benefits to businesses across the supply chain.”

Dr Grantley-Smith said the electronic system would bring transparency and efficiency to every part of the process of moving grain. The positive response to the consultation showed that the industry was confident to meet future challenges and willing to embrace new technologies.

A series of videos produced by AHDB to explain how the eGrain passport would work can be viewed at cereals.ahdb.org.uk/egrainpilot

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