Serviced supply chains

Delivering quality fresh produce to Asia

Using AgTech to monitor fresh produce consignments through the supply chain from farm to retailer improves produce quality and customer satisfaction.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) senior horticulturist Andrew Macnish is leading a project to help Australian export chains improve the outturn quality of fresh produce in Asian markets through the adoption of monitoring technologies and decision aid tools.

The Supply Chain Innovation team have developed a series of factsheets and videos for agribusinesses and exporters.

You can find these resources here.

The technology

Andrew describes the AgTech they are evaluating and developing for monitoring export supply chains.

‘We’re working with exporters of mango, citrus, summerfruit and table grapes on cutting-edge off the shelf temperature and location monitoring systems, new decision-aid tools and user-friendly digital data interpretation platforms,’ Andrew said.

‘A range of temperature loggers are available for monitoring a fresh produce cold chain from farm to market with some also providing real-time tracking of the consignment.

‘The decision-aid tools we’re developing use this cold chain data to predict product quality and residual shelf life of a consignment on arrival at the import destination.

‘We’ve also developed user-friendly customisable dashboards and an app to display consignment temperatures, product quality and real-time predictions of residual shelf-life for easy access by export supervisors.’

Benefits for agribusiness

These systems will improve the profitability of Australia’s horticulture export chains into Asia, Andrew describes how.

‘Monitoring the temperature and time conditions for a consignment as it moves through the export chain allows exporters to understand variability in supply chain performance and manage risks to product quality,’ Andrew said.

‘This allows exporters to improve cold chain handling and deliver a more consistent and high-quality product.’

In a business case on mango export, Manbulloo’s Quality and Export Manager Scott Ledger identified the business benefits from investing in temperature monitoring.

‘Along with benefits to financial returns and repeat sales, we found that better systems for managing supply chain risks can substantially reduce the management time and effort required during the stressful and time-poor harvest and marketing season,’ Scott said.

Next steps

As the project enters its final year, a key goal is to deliver industry adoption ensuring a legacy of long-term capacity to support practice change in export chains to Asia.

Systems, tools and resources to drive export chain improvements will be refined and shared with export businesses.
Part of this will include testing shelf life prediction algorithms in connection with commercial platforms.

The project team is identifying and developing collaborative monitoring and advisory services with providers that remain available on a sustainable basis after project completion.

Contact: Dr. Andrew Macnish via email at Andrew.Macnish@daf.qld.gov.au
Partners: Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (Victoria), Manbulloo (mangoes), Montague Fresh (summerfruit), Glen Grove (citrus), The University of Queensland, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Location: Maroochy Research Facility, Nambour
Industries: Horticulture
Tech type: Sensors, IoT, Dashboards

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