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News . Auto ID

19 Sep 2017

Although it’s one of the oldest human endeavours, agriculture is an industry that’s constantly reinventing itself. Over the last few decades, most of the changes were technological – and, it must be said, not all of them were universally welcomed.

So-called advances such as GMO crops and ‘factory farming’ have increased productivity and volumes, but critics however would argue that this was at the expense of food quality and safety, animal welfare, and the environment.

Here in South Africa, we’re lucky to live in a country where most people have enough to eat. Not only that, but our farmers grow and nurture some of the world’s best produce. Consumers are increasingly interested in their health, and by extension, in perceived healthier foods such as ‘organic’ fruit and vegetables.

There is also an increasing emphasis on the quality of food, and its origins. In some ways, this is an ‘anti-technology’ sentiment, but as in so many areas of modern life, technology can bring benefits when used imaginatively.

Consumers are looking for fresh, healthy food that doesn’t cost the earth. They want to know where it was grown, when, and by whom. That’s a lot more information than can be captured on a little sticker on your apple.

Producers need to ensure that what they’ve grown gets to market timeously, in the freshest condition so that it commands a premium price. It’s clear that modern agriculture is a data-driven industry, and that supply chain logistics are crucial.

That’s where Kemtek bar coding solutions can help. A bar code can store information about a punnet of peaches or a side of beef – information that food stores and restaurants need to reassure more conscious consumers.

Throughout the food supply chain, bar code information attached to food can guide supply and demand calculations, including optimum storage conditions and delivery timeframes. With consumers becoming increasingly informed about what’s on the end of their forks, traceability and visibility are more important than ever.

The food industry is very highly regulated – bar coding can help with compliance and food safety. The data capture functionality of bar coding solutions also permits more accurate, real-time control of inventory and deliveries, and allows more rapid responses to market demand. Sunny weekend during Wimbledon? You can bet that people will eat more strawberries as they watch the tennis on TV.

Farm and rural environments can place unusual demands on barcodes and scanners. Talk to Kemtek to learn about solutions that are ideally suited to outdoor environments and climatic conditions quite different to those in the average warehouse.

Data-capture technology is allowing farmers to record and share vital information about their produce – the kind of information that will ultimately guide decisions in shops and cafés, and help consumers to be confident that their food is fresh, organic and local.

While farming is in some ways returning to its origins, the success of this movement depends on the kind of up-to-date bar coding solutions supplied by Kemtek. We’ve always had an appetite for business success, and we’re delighted to be able to assist South African farmers bring authentic flavours to our brunch tables and lunch boxes.

You may not care about spots on your apples, but thanks to Kemtek’s bar coding solutions, you can both know and care about which tree they fell from, and when.