GI-tagging makes Indian Alphonso traceable, to curb falsification

GI-tagging makes Indian Alphonso traceable, to curb falsification

Picking the first fragrant batch of ripe Alphonso to celebrate the beginning of summer is a tradition in many Indian families. Thanks to FarmTrace™, they can now rest assured that they have picked the original king of mangoes, the geographical indication (GI)-tagged Konkan Alphonso. The innovative traceability solution from Innoterra Tech works with a simple sticker scan and provides consumers with key information points, such as point of origin, farm location and timeline, displayed on their mobile phones. The technology not only helps consumers but also farmers in the Konkan region. By tagging their Alphonso fruit, they can ensure that they receive the right premium for their produce.

Speaking about the development, Dr. Vivek Bhide, Chairperson, Konkan Alphonso Mango Producers and Sellers Cooperative Association said, “Recently, many national and international variants of mangoes, such as ones from Malawi in Africa, are being sold in the market as ‘Alphonso mangoes. As Alphonso mangoes are GI-tagged, this is incorrect practice. Establishing traceability for original Alphonso mangoes will not only help consumers to get value for their money, but also curb product falsification and mislabelling. The true beneficiaries will be the farmers, who will immediately see over 10 percent improvement in their income.”

Making GI-tagged Alphonso accessible

Alphonso, the premium mango variety named after Portuguese general Alphonso de Albuquerque, has won worldwide acclaim for being the richest in taste and most fragrant and vibrant mango variant, fetching the highest premium of all mango variants. Over 15,000 metric tonne of fruit are exported every year from India, mainly to the Middle East, UK, China and Europe.

The Alphonso mangoes are produced largely in the Konkan belt in the state of Maharashtra. The variant was granted a GI-tag in 2020 for its unique origin. The challenge, however, has been to ensure that the original fruits from Konkan get to retain the GI-tag and that the authorities are able to curb false claims by fruit producers through complete traceability of the fruit to the origin. This is where FarmTrace™ as a tech-enabled solution plays a key role.

Innoterra Tech, an Innoterra business unit, is collaborating with the Geographical Indication Authority in India, the Government of Maharashtra and Indian mango farmers collective, to tag each Alphonso mango with FarmTrace™.

Suniti Gupta, MD and CEO, Innoterra Tech, explains, “Our solution is based on technology architecture that links data already logged by food producers and suppliers, tracks each piece of fruit based on a unique sticker. Scanning the sticker QR code will let the consumers know the location of the farm, the batch number, processing unit, packaging unit, shipping information as well as complete timeline of these steps. Thus, the complete journey of a fruit from the farm to the retail shelf is made available to the consumers. This is especially relevant for all GI-tagged products, as authenticity and source of origin are very important in ensuring the right value for producers.”

Suniti Gupta also confirms that Innoterra Tech is currently working on integrating the solution with Blockchain to make the supply chain data verifiable and building trust with the consumers. “FarmTrace™ is already successfully deployed by Desai AgriFoods and DistriCo, both Innoterra business units, to make their food offerings completely traceable. This gives us confidence that we can scale this solution to cover a variety of products in the food ecosystem,” she adds.

A win-win for farmers and consumers

Consumers can scan the QR code to know the GI status and source of the Alphonso mango, right up to the farm level. This makes it easier for them to pick the original Alphonso, the most premium variant of mango available globally. The tag will cover around 100,000 metric tonnes of mangoes (400 million mangoes), grown over 5,000 acres of land in Konkan belt of India by 2022, directly benefitting over 1000 mango farmers in India.

In the past decade, Indian mango farmers have worked together to integrate best practices in growing and ripening mangoes, especially as mango exports have grown exponentially. The farmer collectives have taken the initiative and worked together with state government authorities to register the GI tag for Alphonso mangoes.

Dr. Sandesh Maruti Patil, representative of Alphonso mango farmers collective in Maharashtra, says: “Traceability of Alphonso mangoes is a major breakthrough for the farmers – this way, all our efforts to deliver the highest quality Alphonso mangoes to the global consumers are recognised. Once the farmers register under the GI initiative, which can be done easily at the official portal, they can get all their products tagged immediately. I am thankful for the support from the government and Innoterra Tech in enabling us to get this done so quickly and effectively. I encourage all Alphonso farmers from Maharashtra to join us.”

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