New Consortium Uses Blockchain Technology to Protect Northern Ireland Agriculture Products in World Markets

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA endorses traceability tool during local farm demonstration

November 13, 2020

ZAVENTEM, Belgium – NSF International, a global public health and safety organisation and certification body for food industries, is teaming up with key industry experts to build a new agri-food supply chain system called NSF Verify™. The platform is an animal identification and traceability solution that digitally records the journey of an animal from birth through the supply chain and holds real-time data in a secure blockchain-enabled database.

After witnessing an on-farm demonstration at the Acton House Farm in Poyntzpass, Northern Ireland, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA said he was supportive of technologies that would assist livestock farmers to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of animal traceability records. “Today’s demonstration has shown how new technologies could be useful tools especially for farmers with large numbers of calves to register. I will be watching to see how the potential of such technology develops and can reduce bureaucracy and expedite the flow of animals and products in and out of Northern Ireland,” Poots said.

The new consortium includes NSF International, Fujitsu UK, Institute of Global Food Security at Queen’s University, the B4B Telecoms and Samsung Electronics Ireland with the involvement of local Northern Ireland farmers. It is anticipated that the initiative will create 20 jobs for qualified agricultural technologists in its initial stages.

“Fujitsu is a global technology company committed to programmes which make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation,” said Frank Dunsmuir, Industry Lead of Customs and International Trade at Fujitsu. “We are passionate about our collaboration with NSF International, together with a consortium of innovative organisations based in Northern Ireland, which will bring the NSF Verify™ platform to market. Fujitsu’s global operational reach, combined with the specialist knowledge of this consortium, means we are uniquely positioned to deliver our vision of a new world-class livestock management platform which will secure value in the Northern Ireland agriculture sector.”

Earlier this summer, NSF initiated a successful three-month pilot phase on both large and small farms to evaluate the user experience on farm. Former Ulster and Ireland rugby captain, Rory Best, agreed to bring the trial to the pedigree Loughans Aberdeen-Angus herd that he and his father run at Acton House Farm in Poyntzpass.

“Northern Ireland has very forward-looking farmers who are prioritising traceability, transparency and accountability,” said Rob Chester, Managing Director of NSF International’s UK Food Operations, to a small gathering at the Acton House Farm demonstration. “Beyond the benefits to every aspect of the supply chain, including on-farm cost and labour efficiencies, and assisting with frictionless trade, this tool has the potential to create highly skilled jobs in the region. NSF Verify™ will complement Northern Ireland’s global reputation in the cyber arena and will provide a baseline for the future of digital identification and product provenance across global supply chains and into export markets, well beyond the food and agriculture sector.”

Chester explained how NSF International is concluding the pilot phase of its on-farm user evaluation and intends to move into a second stage commercial roll-out. For more information regarding NSF Verify, please visit the Supply Chain Traceability web page.

For further technical information and to arrange broadcast media interviews with NSF International experts, please contact Brendan Mulgrew (Northern Ireland-based) at 07767 393252 or Jessica Van de Gucht (EU-based) at +32 2 761 74 18.

NSF International (nsf.org) is an independent, global organisation that facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimise adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.