GS1 on Food Industry Asia

Patrik Jonasson, Director Public Policy Asia-Pacific, interviewed on Capacity-building for Enhanced Traceability in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

On 20 February, Food Industry Asia (FIA), the hub for advocacy and debate on food industry in Asia, published an interview with Patrik Jonasson, our Director of Public Policy in Asia-Pacific, on a traceability capacity-building initiative for local businesses involved in agriculture across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Strengthening food safety in the GMS region: start with traceability

In September 2017, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the six agricultural ministries of the GMS region, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam endorsed the use of GS1 barcoding to improve the food systems of the region.

GS1 has a positive track record on food supply chain projects led by the success of Asia-Pacific pilot projects covering cross-border shipment of wine, beef, durian, tequila and asparagus resulting in the publication of the APECs Study on the Application of Global Data Standards for Supply Chain Connectivity. These experiences proved the crucial role of GS1 standards as relevant for the actors along the food supply chain. For this reason, GS1 committed itself to a new initiative to strengthen traceability for the agricultural sector in Asia-Pacific by setting up trainings and promoting the creation of pilot projects.

Traceability initiative: steps so far

GS1 and the six countries were involved in a two steps process; first step required a stakeholder consultations in each of the countries involved whereas the second one was focused on capacity-building for companies in agriculture, particularly involving SMEs.

This initiative was coordinated by Patrik Jonasson and by the teams of GS1 MOs in the region. As pointed out by Patrik, “the market is not yet used to using supply chain standards and they don’t know what the real benefits are so we are planning to train agricultural companies. What we are hoping there is that their level of understanding of the GS1 system is raised, their capacity is raised and they are able to implement a pilot project”. The objective is to prove that by implementing internationally recognised standards it is possible to increase traceability, efficiency and enhancing trust in the consumers.

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