Agro-food safety measures are the key to promoting good health and sustaining life by mitigating the concerns of foodborne illnesses. With the right agro-food safety practices, you can ensure that agriproducts stay secure at every stage of the food supply chain. This can be instrumental in protecting the global population from critical foodborne illnesses and ensuring a food secure future for our planet.
As per a study by the United Nations, around 4,20,000 people die every year by consuming contaminated food and children below 5 years of age account for 40% of the foodborne disease burden. This is a grave situation that requires everyone, especially the food producers, to make special efforts in order to bolster our food security efforts.
Agricultural practices such as hydroponics and precision farming can play a pivotal role in reducing food safety issues and improving the quality of agriproducts produced. Similarly, maps-based pest management, end-to-end traceability systems and farm analytics are also propelling the potential of agri producers to cultivate food that is absolutely safe to consume.
Following are 5 smart ways to produce high-quality agriproducts and strengthen your agro-food safety efforts.
1. Vertical Farming / Hydroponics
A major reason behind the deterioration of yield quality in traditional farming is the presence of pests and the inadequate use of pesticides. When it comes to soil-grown crops, pathogens are a common sight. This is because soil itself consists of naturally occurring pathogens. Moreover, traditional farms are also susceptible to contamination associated with animal droppings and water runoffs, which makes it difficult to maintain good agro-food safety practices.
Hydroponics or vertical farming has the potential to eliminate these concerns and ensure the maximum safety of agriproducts. With no soil required for this type of farming, the problem of pathogens is eliminated. With no pathogens, there is zero utilisation of pesticides and fertilisers, and thus crops produced are of the highest quality standards.
2. Precision Agriculture
Along with pests and diseases, varying weather conditions and improper farming practices are also critical factors affecting crop productivity and food safety. Without insights into farm parameters such as humidity and temperature, carrying out accurate agricultural operations can be quite tough. This, in turn, can have an adverse impact on the quality of crop outcomes.
The thoughtful utilisation of agricultural robots, drones, and sensors can play an important role – not only in cost optimisation but also in ensuring top-quality yields. Sensor-based weather stations can provide vital information into climate conditions and help in optimising production by eliminating uncertainties. With precision farming, you can thus ramp up crop productivity and successfully improve your agro-food safety practices.
3. Blockchain-based Agriculture Traceability
Tracking food quality across the different supply chain stages, right from production to consumption, is extremely necessary. Without a well-defined traceability system in place, identifying the entire batch of faulty agriproducts and augmenting agro-food safety can be next to impossible. This may also make it difficult for agribusinesses to swiftly recall all the unsafe agriproducts present in the market and fail to prevent people from consuming them.
Blockchain-based agriculture traceability plays a crucial role in making the agri value chains more resilient and helps in eliminating the expansion of dangerous foodborne illnesses. With the use of QR-codes and stickers, defective batches of agriproducts can be identified quickly. Along with detecting the high-risk agriproducts, end-to-end traceability systems can also assist in finding out the practices that are affecting the quality of agriproducts.
4. Pest Management Based on Maps
Safeguarding crops from pests and diseases is one of the biggest challenges for agricultural producers. Pests and pathogens pose serious threats to the health of crops and can lead to terrible diseases. If the risks of pests are not recognised well in advance and not managed efficiently, they can severely damage the quality of agriproducts and make them unsafe for consumption.
With a maps-based pest management system, details such as the category, image, and location of the pest can be quickly uploaded on the map. This makes it easier for agri experts from any part of the world to have a look at the pest and take effective measures to prevent any further damage. This way, pests and disease threats can be brought under control and agro-food safety and security programs can be improved with the help of maps.
5. Farm Analytics
In spite of the growing demand for food production, food safety concerns still persist. This is primarily due to the loopholes in the existing food safety and security systems. But what if you had access to all the vital information that could help you discover the reasons for failure accurately and enhance your food safety measures?
Farm analytics can extract actionable insights to identify the flaws in food safety systems. It can also be beneficial in detecting the right amount of fertilisers required for every plot and assist in eliminating any food security concerns during the early stages of production. All these factors can help in maintaining the desired quality of agriproducts and effectively mitigate agro-food safety issues.
A Culture of Food Safety is Indispensable
Agro-food safety lapses or failures can be generally linked to unhygienic or poor production practices. When it comes to a majority of agricultural stakeholders, the common emphasis is on simply obtaining the necessary safety certificates rather than ensuring the security of their agriproducts. This is something that needs to be changed.
Enterprises and agricultural stakeholders need to strive hard to help everyone involved in food production understand the importance of food safety. Cultivating such a culture of food safety is obviously a continuous process that will require ardent commitment and dedication. But doing this will certainly start driving away the threats of foodborne diseases and contribute to enhancing agro-food safety measures across the world.
Cultivating safe and risk-free agriproducts requires agricultural producers to carry out sustainable practices. FarmERP, a digital farm management platform, can help you in implementing the right procedures to produce high-quality agriproducts effortlessly. Get in touch with us to know more about how our agritech platform can help you mitigate all quality and productivity concerns and cultivate agriproducts that are completely safe to consume.