Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

Fair Tracing; new branding and tech transfer possibilities?

Fair Tracing Project Blog
This was a project I heard about whilst listening to a podcast this morning.  It’s called “Fair Tracing” — a research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK.  And, as the play on words suggests, the idea is linked to the Fair Trade model of trade.

 The aim of the project is to:

“help bridge the digital divide between Northern consumers and Southern producers by using tracing technology to enhance the Fair Trade model of trade”

It’s not hard to imagine a number of possible benefits if applied to an agricultural development context.  This kind of branding could be used to provide assurances on the quality of seed for example.  Or as a channel for technology transfer by providing latest updates about inputs, storage, pests etc.  Market prices could even be added, as the data can be amended at any time.  And this is an aside to its intended use to support Fair Trade which is a quickly growing consumer category.

How does the system work?  Using digital tracing technology that, according to the blog enables an individual product to be:

“given a unique identity and tracked throughout the value chain from producer to consumer. The information that may be attached to such a “tagged” product is virtually limitless, beginning with details of the product’s date and cost of creation, as well as its individual creator and his/her working environment and pay, through the various steps of its transport to the eventual point-of-sale to the consumer. At each stage of the product’s journey, information may be added and/or edited and, if the information is stored digitally on the internet, may be of various multimedia types. The ability to access this rich information at the point-of-sale will empower the consumer to make an informed comparison between competing products before finalising his/her purchase.”

So far precise details have not been determined, and case studies are to be conducted to determine what form the data, storage and retrieval could take. Their blog includes publications related to the project.