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Brazil: Tracking food from the farm to the supermarket

The trends show that the profile of consumption is changing around the world. In Brazil, data from the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS) show an increasing demand for products considered healthy, such as fruits and greens. In 2014, these items accounted for 6.4% of purchases in the supermarkets across the country, and had climbed to 9.1% in 2017. This transformation of the eating habits and the increasing search for more healthy and quality life is posing new demands and requirements to production, especially related to food quality and safety. People nowadays want to know where the products they are consuming came from and how it was produced.

ABRAS decided to embrace the challenge of helping the retailers to meet these new consumer expectations - 28 million consumers go to supermarkets every day in Brazil. In 2011, they created the Food Traceability and Monitoring Program (RAMA), focused on fresh vegetables, and committed to provide guaranteed, certified food with transparent nutritional information.

Currently, 56 retailers participate in the program, among them large chains (such as Carrefour and the Angeloni group) and about 32 thousand farmers. When supermarkets and farmers join RAMA, they have access to a large technological platform, managed by a third party company, which releases information about the production of products, as well as analyses the samples collected daily in supermarkets. The platform tracks where a product came from and where it goes; and assesses whether the farmer has used environmentally sound and sustainable management practices - for example, if the levels of crop protection comply with legal parameters and label instructions for use.

Since its launch, RAMA has analysed 5,816 samples of 42 types of fruit, 41 types of vegetables and 38 types of greens from more than 700 suppliers from 264 municipalities, representing 20 different states of the country. Thanks to the program, about 25% of all products marketed in Brazil are already traced. And, every year, the initiative expands. According to the most recent numbers released by ABRAS, 1,430,612 tons of food were tracked in 2018, 6% increase over the previous year.

Source: Bayer (Márcio Milan)

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