Friday, December 15, 2017

Six-year eGrain passport project ends in ‘disappointment’

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

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Industry representatives have failed to reach an agreement on the national roll out of an electronic grain passport – the goal of a six-year project facilitated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

The Cereals Liaison Group met in London to consider whether a nationwide roll out should go ahead based on a costed proposal supplied by AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds and a review of industry consultation responses.

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds chairman Paul Temple argued that the project was an opportunity to bring the existing grain passport system up to date. But stakeholders failed to agree that the projected £2.5m cost over the next five years would be money well spent.

Mr Temple said: “I am disappointed that it was not possible to agree a way forward at the meeting.”

He added: “The project would have brought the existing grain passport system up to date, providing a platform to enable two way flow of data between growers and processors and a ‘real time’ means of checking assurance status.”

An eGrain Passport pilot project involving the milling and malting barley supply chains was carried out by AHDB in 2015. This was followed by a six-month industry consultation in 2016. The national rollout would have been funded from cereal and oilseed levies.

Mr Temple said the Cereals & Oilseeds board had acted as an independent facilitator for the project following an initial request from the industry to explore the feasibility of an online system in 2012. It had been was willing to fund the roll out subject to collective industry agreement.

Part of the reason behind the project being shelved was due to concerns about data feedback to farmers and how growers’ data might be shared. But the NFU said it remained committed to the concept of electronic grain passports.

Even so, an electronic system remains a long way off. Mr Temple said: “Although we have not got that agreement, the industry still has a valid and robust piece of research which will remain available for future use.”

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