Increasingly, companies that source from smallholder farmers and governments that regulate global food trade require traceability along the value chain. Tracing the movement of a product from producer to the consumer can offer assurances that value chain actors meet strict market standards for food quality and safety, environmental concerns, trade, and labor. It can help consumers to “see into” their personal food supply chain, if they desire. It can inform efforts to improve value chain efficiency, identify sources of loss, and reward farmers for high-quality production.
With all of these potential benefits, it should come as no surprise that food traceability is an established field; it is a multi- billion-dollar industry dating back to the 1930’s. However, the use of traceability in smallholder agriculture is an emerging, growing innovation space. Traceability in smallholder agriculture presents a host of unique challenges and opportunities that sets it apart from the well-established traceability industry.
The following report presents Innovation Scan findings on the innovation request presented by TechnoServe: How might we enhance the traceability of mangoes produced by smallholder farmers in Kenya? In Phase I of the scan, the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) investigated possible innovation options and key decision-making considerations. In Phase II, GKI used feedback from the Implementing Partners to delve more deeply into specific innovation opportunities poised to positively impact their ongoing YieldWise efforts.
Since the conclusion of the Innovation Scan in December 2016, GKI connected TechnoServe with the traceability innovators profiled in this report. After a strong initial engagement, TechnoServe invited these innovators to propose a plan for a long-term partnership, through which TechnoServe and the innovator would work together to pilot a traceability solution for mango processors in Kenya. TechnoServe is currently engaged in further discussion to select the solution that will be easiest to deploy.
In its role as the YieldWise Innovation Partner, GKI helps Implementing Partners improve their effectiveness and impact through innovation. In addition to scanning for innovations with the potential to reduce food loss, GKI works with Implementing Partners to address their innovation capacity building goals. This effort builds on recent collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation on the post-harvest food loss challenge. GKI served as the Social Innovation Lab for the Foundation’s Food Waste and Spoilage Initiative in 2013-15.