The US agriculture software maker, SourceTrace Systems, recently released a new package for fish farmers offering traceability throughout the supply chain - hatchery, farm, buyer, exporter and importer - and providing mobile, cloud and web access to every data point along the way.
National Fish and Seafood (NFS), one of the largest importers of fish into the US, has rolled out the SourceTrace aquaculture software solution throughout their global aquaculture supplier network.
NFS expects the application to increase the efficiency and transparency of the entire supply chain as well as maintain all documentation including legal documents, licenses, effluent records, and minutes of meetings and health certificates, required for certifying the farms with Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).
The Cambridge Massachusetts-based, SourceTrace Systems, developed technology for remote transactions and software for fish farmers to enable the collection of data through Android mobile phones and tablets right at the ponds and now has devised software to do the same with the large amount of data produced throughout the production process from farm to exporter to importer.
The nuts and bolts
The SourceTrace system is designed to record day-to-day activities on the farms such as
seeding details, feed management, water quality parameters, input records, sampling data, harvesting details, etc. The information is entered digitally into an android-enabled system, on-site using a mobile phone, tablet and/or computer.
The software is based on an eServicesEveryWhere (ESE) platform and uses existing mobile and wireless data networks to capture transactional information at the source — even in remote locations with minimal or no telecommunication infrastructure.
SourceTrace leverages remote data capture middleware and hardware in an on-demand, hosted, web-based ASP model to provide 360° visibility of any number of data sources around the globe. The data is made available in real time to farmers, NFS processing plants, as well as, the quality assurance teams throughout the US to continuously monitor for quality assurance of imported shrimp.
Another feature of the software is the ability to analyze the data collected. The farmers and NFS management can calculate feed conversion rates, average pH, alkalinity, and ammonia levels. The system also allows for capturing the historical knowledge base regarding pond practices and know-how, designed to support farmers’ decision making, according to the company's software literature.
SourceTrace may have a leg-up on other traceability software makers because of the company’s history in mobile app development in India and South America, previously producing mobile apps for transaction data management.
The roll out
SourceTrace Systems CEO Venkat Maroju told Aquaculture North America that the deal with NFS was first hashed out when he was on a flight back from India.
"I ended up sitting next to Jeff Sedacca, President, Shrimp Division of NFS and we started talking about what we do and he said he would like to partner with us to help their shrimp farmers in India meet tough regulations in the US and Europe markets where documentation of sustainability and certification is important," Maroju said.
"We decided to roll out our first global system with NFS because they work with many small shrimp farms in India and Bangladesh and our system is applicable to that market," Maroju explained. The software will be used by NFS partner Penver Products in India to monitor and achieve traceability on each step of the shrimp value chain from the pond culture to packaging.
Bangladesh, like other Asian countries, has been trying to keep their aquaculture exporters meeting the strict sustainability standards in North America and Europe. The government has played a big part in the NFS - SourceTrace deal in an effort to enable shrimp farmers to provide the documentation and certification of their sustainable production practices necessary to meet export standards.
"This is where our software system can help small farmers to make sure they live up to these standards," Maroju added.
— Erich Luening