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AHDB Pork Blog

Digital services important tool for trade by Martin Smith

undefinedI’m sat in Nobel House cafe, after meeting Graeme Cooke, the new deputy chief veterinary officer for the UK. He’s only been in post for a few weeks, but there was plenty of pork industry information to update him on. 

The aim of the meeting was to look at the current trade situation going into Brexit, with Peter Hardwick from the AHDB exports team providing insight in this area, while I talked about animal health concerns.

Meetings like this are an opportunity to clarify key areas of concern. However, senior government officials are often short on time and need the issues distilled into salient points.

The Livestock Identification Programme was an area I wished to discuss, as Defra is in the process of investigating a new movements system for livestock within the UK, combining all current species onto one. 

There’s some sense in this, as it’s likely to save on running costs. It will also bring a much-needed update to some of the services for other livestock sectors that aren’t fully digitalised or need some improvement. 

Digital services, such as livestock movement systems, are becoming increasingly important as a tool for the trade, as they can be used to demonstrate secure supply chains, by proving the provenance of meat from ‘farm to fork’. They also provide assurance to other countries that, in the event of a disease outbreak, it can be contained and effectively eliminated.

However, these systems pique my interest more in terms of the ‘value-added’ information that they provide.

Over time, AHDB Pork has accumulated a portfolio of ‘value-added’ databases and information services linked to the movement system, ranging from slaughterhouse data to the electronic medicines book (eMB-Pigs). 

When it comes to trade, these services add up, because they demonstrate a holistic and auditable industry, which can be branded as high quality and trustworthy.

Recent events have demonstrated how data recording and quantitative evidence from such systems is becoming increasingly important to defend the industry position within national and international government. 

As the UK will soon be setting sail into unchartered Brexit waters, the ability for us as an industry to demonstrate and quantify the quality, welfare and traceability of our pork will put us in a much better place to meet the demands of international trade and domestic Government.


By AHDB Pork at 6 Mar 2017, 14:29 PM

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