FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Papua New Guinea

CASE 20 -- Piloting livestock traceability using blockchain technology: the case of Jiwaka province

The Government of Papua New Guinea, with support from FAO and other private sector partners, has piloted a key innovation in the Livestock Traceability System using Blockchain Technology in three sites within Jiwaka province, located in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Jiwaka is home to one of the largest pig populations in the country. Pig production has traditionally been viewed as an integral part of the PNG culture and lifestyle, and is also important for its commercial value.  As a fairly young province, with potential for agricultural growth, Jiwaka was selected to pilot E-Agriculture activities and Digital Solutions.

This pilot is one of the earliest applications to integrate ICT solutions in agricultural development following the development of an E-Agriculture strategy for Papua New Guinea, developed by the government, with support from FAO, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and other stakeholders.
To support the pilot, broadband was installed in three sites – Kingku Training Institute, Fatima TVET as well as the Jiwaka Provincial Administration Office, with the aim of providing access points for broadband internet services, particularly for use by farmers and community members.

Interested pig farmers from the North and South Waghi Districts registered with the system and ear-tagged their pigs with a special device. The (radio frequency identification) FRID-enabled tags were then linked to the database of a traceability system. As part of the traceability system, a mobile application (PNG Pigs), was developed by an Australian company, Switch Marven, and used by the pig famers during the registration of their pigs. The system continually uploaded performance data via the smartphones, which were provided by the Jiwaka Provincial Government. The provincial authority also dedicated an office with full-time staffing to help scale up this technology in order to eventually roll it out to the rest of the province. In the meantime, Switch Marven would continue to provide remote monitoring and support services until the system is transferred to the national partners.

Farmers participated by inputting data into the system throughout the life of the pigs until the animals were ready for sale. When ready, potential buyers visit the pig-selling points with their own app and scan the ear tags to access individual information about each animal by viewing its history before making a decision to purchase.

As a quality control measure, the project’s partners provide ongoing hands-on training and demonstration to farmers on use of the new technology.

In addition to helping buyers determine the quality of animals, the traceability system assists farmers adopt good farming practices while establishing a brand for their products. Availability of internet services has also enabled farmers to market their produce and generate better income thanks to the improved quality of their products.

 

“Farmers participated by inputting data into the system throughout the life of the pigs until the animals were ready for sale. When ready, potential buyers visit the pig-selling points with their own app and scan the ear tags to access individual information about each animal by viewing its history before making a decision to purchase.”