The retailing of the humble banana is set to go hi-tech in some parts of the country soon. By scanning a QR code, one can soon track the journey of the banana from the farm to the consumer’s basket.

Happy Banana, the fruit brand from Desai Fruits Venture Pvt Ltd (DFV), has started deploying the QR code solution FarmTrace on the fruit that will help consumers track the journey of the fruit — with the details and the location of the farm where it was grown and the ripening chamber, where it was ripened and packed before reaching the retail shelves.

Transparency for customers

“FarmTrace helps us to further differentiate our premium bananas from other suppliers and give our consumers full transparency and assurance about buying a healthy and hygienically produced product,” said Marco Klinge, CEO, DFV, a large producer and exporter of bananas based in Navsari, Gujarat. Further, FarmTrace can help producers and farmers realise better price for their produce.

DFV handles about 100,000 tonnes of bananas annually, of which about 70 per cent is exported and the rest sold in domestic market, Klinge told BusinessLine adding that the company was looking to triple its fruit volumes this year.

DFV is a portfolio company of Pioneering Ventures, a food, finance and technology platform based in Switzerland. The FarmTrace solution was developed Lateral Praxis, an agri-tech company acquired by Pioneering Ventures in May this year.

FarmTrace is based on technology architecture that links MIS data already logged by food producers and suppliers, tracks each piece of fruit, vegetable or fresh produce packet based on a unique sticker. Klinge said the QR code solution would also be deployed on other farm produce such as pineapples and rice going forward.

“Consumers in India and across the world are becoming increasingly conscious about the food they consume, and they prefer to know exactly where the product comes from, when it was harvested and how it was produced,” said Pablo Erat, Co-founder of Pioneering Ventures, in a statement.

Suniti Gupta, CEO Pioneering Ventures Tech, said, “FarmTrace is the only solution in India today that enables traceability on an individual fruit level. We are in process of integrating our systems with Blockchain technology now.”

Keeping it simple

“We have also deliberately kept it simple for farmers, supply chain partners and vendors to join in. They can make their food traceable without incurring a huge cost, by just enrolling with us. We provide ample tech support to the small-scale farmers to help enroll them and onboard them on this journey of being able to provide traceability features to their produce.”

So far, over 3,000 farmers are on the map of FarmTrace. The web-based solution aims to enroll around 10,000 farmers in the pilot phase by March 2021.

Recently, INI Farms, another large exporter announced the deployment of QR code traceability feature on its fruit brand Kimaye for products such as pomegranate, arils and coconut. INI Farms had said its bananas will carry the QR code on the fruit from December.