New science will keep tabs on how Katherine's much-loved mangoes are sent to market.
The CRC for Developing Northern Australia has announced a “Smart Supply Chains” project which will have major applications across Northern Australia.
While the research will focus on mango supply chains in the Burdekin and Katherine regions, the outcomes of the research will impact all horticultural regions of Northern Australia.
The massive distances involved in distributing Northern Australian produce to markets elsewhere presents significant challenges in supply chain management, with both growers and consumers in tracking produce and ensuring its authenticity.
Next generation supply chain technologies under development in partnership between T-Provenance, Manbulloo Limited, Growcom and CRCNA will allow Northern Australian mango producers to collect and utilise data on their supply chain, value-add to their businesses and capture new markets.
The industry-led project will run over the next two years and will receive $300,000 funding from the CRCNA with a total project value of $830,000.
The project utilises a combination of sensor technology for quality assessment, smart chip technology measurement capabilities and new blockchain technology to ensure food safety, food quality, food traceability and authenticity within the supply chain.
A new tracking device was trialed by the NT Government last season to help open up export markets has made a successful journey to the USA with the first shipment of Katherine mangoes.
This trial, supported by Telstra, saw the Sendum device travel with a shipment of mangoes on one of the longest journeys Territory produce makes.
During that journey it provided real-time data on important matters such as temperature, humidity and location.
It was the first time the device has been used in Australia for a horticultural export.
CRCNA chair Sheriden Morris said the technology has major applications for northern Australian farmers.
“To address the growing pressures on farmer, supply chain technology for data collection and analysis needs to be automated and simple,” Sheriden said.
“In the past, food quality has largely been a subjective and humanised measurement. The technologies at the core of this project, will allow for objective and secure data collection along the supply chain to give consumers higher quality assurance, and create further demand for Northern Australia produce.”
“Through the creation of smarter sensors, advanced analysis of supply chain data, along with the trust created through blockchain technology, we believe there are huge efficiencies to be gained not only in North Australian mango supply chains, but all supply chains in the North.
“We estimate that upon successful adoption of our technology, 10% of value will be added to farm gate production, which equates to $14 million per annum – and that’s just in the mango industry,” said Ms Morris.
“It is exciting to see that through projects like smart supply chains, northern-based businesses and industry are collaborating with researchers to generate new ideas and innovation that leverages the North’s strengths and addresses its challenges.”
The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia is an initiative of the white paper on developing Northern Australia and is a core element of the Australian Government’s agenda for developing the north.