Breaking new ground through IT and management techniques will be the focus of a collaboration between the University of Tasmania’s Pathways to Market project and one of Australia’s leading producers, Perfection Fresh.
The three-year funding project worth more than $900,000 will enable the family-owned company to develop a whole-of-supply chain Decision Support System for its Calypso® Mango supply chain.
Perfection Fresh’s Head of ICT Francesco Oliveri said the exciting collaboration would enable the company to focus on better understanding its entire supply chain, from the farmer to the consumer, which would have taken years to achieve.
“This information will help us build on our 40-year history of producing some of Australia’s most well-known produce, including Broccolini®, Qukes®, Tomato Medley and some exclusive lines of blueberries and raspberries,” Mr Oliveri said.
“By having a better understanding of the entire supply chain through this new technology, we will be able to look at other factors, such as the quality of the product and improve the way we forecast the crop visibility.”
Mr Oliveri said the company’s recent Tasmanian development includes a 100-acre raspberry and blueberry farm at Riana on the State’s North West Coast.
The $5 million Pathways to Market project is a five-year research collaboration providing digitally-backed solutions to Australian food exporters and their supply chains and is funded by the Australian Research Council, the University of Tasmania and industry participants.
Dr Laurie Bonney, Associate Professor of Value Chain Innovation and Director, ARC Pathways to Market Research Hub at the University’s Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, said the focus is rich information- sharing through food supply chains and creating value for industry, government and community.
“In today’s competitive global markets, the unit of competition is the whole value chain rather than individual businesses,” Dr Bonney said.
“Every product is only as competitive as the chain that produces and delivers it to market.”
Dr Bonney said although agriculture and fresh produce lead the world in adopting production technology, they’re among the last industries to adopt new IT and management techniques such as Big Data or prescriptive data analytics.
“Pathways to Market aims to change that. It’s showing how science can deliver value to consumers and value chain partners that will improve global competitiveness and access to markets,” Dr Bonney said.
“Consumers around the world are demanding greater transparency about the produce they are buying and eating.
“They want confidence about where it comes from, how it was produced, and importantly, if it is safe. Being ‘clean and green’ is not a competitive advantage but a licence to be in the game.
“Pathways to Market is focused on premium food exports, specifically to Asia and the US. From a production perspective, we’re looking at aspects of food quality, traceability, and the natural capital of the production environment, all of which involve additional sensing capability.”
Pictured: Perfection Fresh’s Head of ICT Francesco Oliveri (centre) with University of Tasmania researchers Dr Peggy Chen and Dr Warwick Gillespie.