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FAO in Papua New Guinea

Launch of the Livestock Traceability Project using Blockchain for Jiwaka Province

FAO, DAL officers and pig farmers with the first pig tagged in Jiwaka Province
11/03/2019

Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea – Traceability in food and agriculture along the supply chain is crucial for food safety, quality and integrity. In the face of emerging global challenges such as climate change and disease outbreak, effective traceability systems provide relevant information to agri-business actors to better manage risks and facilitate corrective actions. Traceability also enhances consistency in the supply of traceable products with cost effectiveness, safety and quality assurance to meet consumer demands. 

The integration of the blockchain technology in traceability offers exciting opportunities in the digital landscape with greater transparency, enhanced security, improved traceability and increased efficiency. 

The PNG E-Agriculture Programme, piloted in the Jiwaka Province, has tapped into the modern blockchain technology in the traceability space to enhance ICT capacities for local farmers for improved agricultural productivity and marketing. 

This is a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), Department of Communication and Information (DCI), National Information & Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Jiwaka Provincial Government in partnership with the Geriduo Global Technology Exchange of Australia and other stakeholders.  

Traceability in the value chain of livestock, watermelon, capsicum, coffee and other agriculture produce has been identified as a priority e-agriculture solution for the Jiwaka Province during recent consultations involving the partners and local farmers. 

A Livestock Traceability System using the Blockchain Technology for Jiwaka Province has been developed for pigs using distributed ledger technologies (Blockchain) that will create a database, tracking the quality of pigs and engaging with key stakeholders across the value chain (e.g. interested farmers, local provincial government, veterinary doctors, food suppliers, buyers) over a period of time. 

The blockchain traceability system is trialled on pigs as a proof of concept given the socio-economic importance of pigs in Jiwaka and the Highlands region. A weeklong training initiative for 10 pig farmers from the North and South Whagi districts begins today on the use of the system. 

FAO is keen in supporting this innovation through cooperation under its country assistance which focuses on agriculture and livestock, fisheries, forestry, conservation and rural development; as shaped by the 2018-22 Country Programme Framework. This traceability project is strategic and in line with one of FAO’s priorities – sustainable and inclusive economic development and job creation in rural areas. 

The learning opportunity will be crucial to the farmers to be innovative in this information age to improve the sales value of their produce, improve quality and establish a brand. 

FAO has supported the Government of PNG in developing the National E-Agriculture Strategy, hence the development and field application of this traceability system is part of the strategy’s field implementation. The project is being implemented in Jiwaka as a pilot however the concept can be replicated and expanded based on the lessons learnt.