E-certification of agricultural products’ quality – MOBILE GAP

2 Minutes

In Thailand, since 2013 there is an implemented programme regarding electronic certification of agricultural products' (flora, fauna and fisheries) quality through an electronic application compatible with PC's, notebooks, Android smartphones and tablets. Thai Ministry's of Agriculture and Cooperatives goal is, in cooperation with a national certification body, strengthening production of safe food. Up to that time, the applied system of products' qualification was not considered successful since it was based on significant bureaucracy which slowed down the certification process. MOBILE GAP application was created so much for the farmer as for the Certification Organization.

The farmer is assessed on the following production process, particularly in these points: (a) quality of water used, (b) production safety and hygiene, (c) use of chemicals, (d) storage capacity, (e) record keeping, (F) pest-free products; (g) quality management; and (h) harvest and post-harvest management.

The program was piloted in 2013 in Samkha, Thailand, for rice production. Of the 159 households in the implementation period, about 40 people participated in the program with people of all age groups. Software development was undertaken by NECTEC, IQS-MJM and RMUTL, while a training program with an emphasis on data entry and a reduction in the age gap in the use of technology was implemented.

Positive points: (A) The farmer has direct access to his production certification requirements and to standardized questionnmobilegaplogoaires he is initially invited to consult in order to comply with his production process and then fill in to register his application electronically.

(B) The data recorded relate to the farmer's personal data, the farm, the work done on the holding (spraying, raw materials, and so on). The geo-spatial dimension of the data through the Google Maps API is of paramount importance, which facilitates both the identification and description of the holding and the auditors when verifying the certification request details.

(C) The process is now paperless since the certification is sent in real time to the farmer through the electronic application.

(D) The certification body is able to gather data of applicable practices by type of production, geographical area and implementation period. Against this background, national planning for a balanced and sustainable rural development becomes more effective since it can identify implementation difficulties, popular practices among farmers, their lagging behind, etc. And to plan long-term actions and programs.

Difficulties in implementation: (A) Training of application users was required, focusing on older farmers who do not have the same close contact with technology.

(B) Managing trainee users of different attitudes, ages and priorities is a challenge that is tackled by creating a team mood so that benefits can diffuse.

(C) The existence of alternatives is a brake on the faster adoption of the choice of electronic quality certification application. Therefore, if there is a similar implementation at a mature stage, it is necessary to discourage the existence of other quality certification schemes.

Source: FAO, 2015, Success stories on information and communication technologies for agriculture and rural development. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4622e.pdf