With extra concentrate on security, why is it nonetheless troublesome to search out wholesome meals?

Food safety is increasingly becoming the dominant topic of conversation in industrialized countries. In the last few decades the focus has been on securing as much food as possible; In developed countries, however, this has not been the case for years.

According to an estimate by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million Americans develop foodborne diseases every year. At the same time, in the 2020 EU-wide public opinion survey, 42% of EU citizens said food safety was the main driver of food choice.

In addition, various surveys show that consumers across the EU are willing to pay more for safe food than they normally do. This has led to the development of a number of different certificates in order to somehow standardize the origin and method of production of food; some of these certificates are even developed by state institutions.

What is safe food anyway? These are foods with full nutritional value and without any harmful ingredients. How can we be sure that we have safe food? By ensuring that the food that goes on the market is local, authentic, transparent, traceable and ethical (e.g. LATTE).

So the principles are very clear. There is a growing demand for safe food and we know its definition. Then why do the stores still sort the food according to its nutritional value? The bottleneck here is the lack of information about the foods we consume.

For example, when we buy an apple, we don’t know when and with what it was treated (and if so, whether or not it contains pesticide residues), how much additional nutrients were used in its manufacture, or even when it was planted or picked . In fact, we don’t get a single piece of information telling us that the food in question is safe or that we are looking at a LATTE apple.

The only solution here is the digitization of agriculture. The EU has recognized this: in its next financial perspective it will concentrate heavily on the digitization of agriculture and not on other “traditional” measures to increase the competitiveness of agriculture, such as land consolidation or farmers’ cooperatives, which are necessary, but for a long time. On the other hand, digitization brings considerable advantages to both buyers and farmers in a short period of time.

The digitization of all production steps enables the creation of detailed reports at the end of the production process for each individual product, giving the buyer information about which tree an apple was picked from, when the tree in question was planted, when and how much the apple was treated whether it was receiving additional nutrients, how much manual or mechanical labor was required to make it, and what the carbon footprint of production was, among other things.

Our own solution can generate more than 20 different pieces of information about the product, its origin and the way it was made. AGRIVI is used by buyers in the UAE as well as large systems that buy and process food, but also want full quality control, like Nestle, which uses the AGRIVI solution for its children’s food factories, US Driscoll’s, the world’s largest Berry Company, and Helvetas, which trusts in the solution to provide traceability of rice production for more than 4,000 small farmers across Asia.

At the same time, digitization of agriculture also brings significant benefits to farmers as it helps avoid three times the loss farmers suffer in a single year. The first loss that farmers experience occurs during production planning, as they cannot optimally calculate the necessary inputs for the season without the precise data on the soil quality and the actual harvest requirements. Digitization can reduce losses by up to 30%.

The second loss occurs during production, mostly due to misjudgments in the application of certain agrotechnological measures; Yield losses due to pests and diseases amount to 20-40% annually. Digitization reduces deviations from optimal deadlines and thus significantly reduces the corresponding losses.

The third time farmers have suffered losses is the pricing of their products. This happens due to their inability to provide detailed information about all stages of production, which buyers see as a guarantee that it is worth paying more for farmers’ products. With digitization, farmers’ incomes are increasing by 50 to 100%. In addition, digitization is the only way to quickly increase the competitiveness of agriculture.

The digitization of agriculture enables a significant step forward, at the same time increases the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector and significantly increases the safety level of the food we consume. It’s up to us to use it!

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Matija Zulj is the CEO & founder of Agrivi. Agrivi is a global Ag-Tech company that provides one of the leading global farm management software platforms used by professional farmers and key industry stakeholders such as raw material manufacturers, food processors, agribusiness banks and others who want to encourage their collaboration with farmers .
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