Traceable Aussie rockmelons on a roll
Paddock-to-plate assurance system FreshChain has successfully piloted innovative blockchain technology, exporting end-to-end traceable whole rockmelons from the Sunraysia region. The pilot program was supported by the Australian Government Traceability Grants Program, which aims to provide an advantage for Aussie exporters in overseas markets and to increase opportunities to export Australian commodities.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud says the digitised tracing of Honey Kiss and Sugar Kiss rockmelon varieties from farm to major export markets in the United Kingdom and Canada is “innovation in action”.
“Exporting fruit that is traceable through the supply chain ensures food safety, boosts biosecurity and enhances the confidence of our trading partners and consumers,” he says.
“The blockchain-enabled traceability systems along with proper labelling and QR codes consumers can scan is a win-win for all supply chain participants. Our clean, green reputation makes Australian produce valued overseas, and we have to protect that.”
National Party MP Dr Anne Webster, the member for Mallee – which covers most of northwest Victoria – says these exports show the benefits of blockchain enabled tech, with products labelled with a QR code that consumers can scan to find out traceability details.
“It’s a shining example of the next generation of innovation of Australian producers, as they build on the strong track record of farmers taking advantage of market opportunities and finding ways to deliver high quality new products,” she says.
Greg Calvert of FreshChain says that this is the company’s first pilot of exporting rockmelon varieties with end-to-end traceability to Canada and the United Kingdom.
“It proves the power of traceability and enhances our export offering,” he says. “We have recently sent consignments to Canada, and now to the United Kingdom, with markets in Singapore and Hong Kong likely to follow soon.”
Brad Dawson of Dawson Melon Co in Red Cliffs, Victoria, says this new tech is about sharing not just Australia’s safe and delicious fresh produce but also the Australian farming story, all while connecting with consumers in an entirely new way.
“We must, as a fresh food community, look beyond our individual operations and contribute to future-proofing the entire horticultural industry, and I believe that delivering blockchain end-to-end traceability is a significant step in the right direction,” he says.
“It’s amazing to think that we now have traceability of melons from Red Cliffs along the supply chain to London and Toronto.”
Australian melon growers produce approximately 217,000 tonnes of melons annually across an area of around 8500 hectares. The Mildura region in northwest Victoria is ideally suited to melon growing with its long, hot summers, and produces 11 percent of Australia’s total melon production. For the year ending June 2019, Australia produced 291,089 tonnes of fresh melons, valued at $181 million.