Fighting agricultural fraud in Africa
A start-up based in Ghana known as mPedigree uses mobile technology to protect products from counterfeiting and has entered into a partnership with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to provide an e-verification service for the country’s agricultural sector.
Estimates have suggested that the scale of agricultural fraud in Ghana is worryingly high; fake seeds make up between 30 and 40 percent of the total local supply. In a statement, mPedigree said: “Fake seeds give poor yields or sometimes do not germinate at all, putting not just the livelihoods of farmers, but their very lives at risk.”
This system has been developed in co-operation with Feed the Future, a USAID initiative seeking to combat poverty, hunger and food insecurity through improving agricultural practices across the board.
The solution itself is based on cloud technology; it creates unique codes which are hidden under an opaque layer and can only be revealed once a tagged product is purchased.
The initiative brings together E-Tags quality certification and auditing service used in UNBS and mPedigree’s Goldkeys serialisation and authentication engine to create a channel for verifying the source and supply chain status of agro-inputs as well as their conformity to quality standards.
Phase one is set to be completed by next year, paving the way for further nationwide phases that will extend to private sector agro-input manufacturers, providers and distributors.
The statement also said: “Fake agrochemicals often contain dangerous compounds that contaminate ground water, and poison consumers. A perverse twist to this development is the misrepresentation of banned chemicals as organic farm chemicals, thus turning the ecological goals on their head.”
The company also stated that the service aims over its lifecycle to empower five million farmers and generate more than $1 billion in aggregate value per year.
SOURCE: [pctech magazine]