Towards interoperability of digital traceability systems in global agricultural supply chains

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG), the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) place new demands on companies. In future they will need to prove that they are meeting legal due diligence requirements. This creates an urgent need to trace and securely document the origins and sustainable production of agricultural products.  

While the number of traceability solutions on the market is steadily rising, data incompatibilities unfortunately often mean that the various systems are unable to exchange data. Digital solutions are barely interoperable. As a result, both producer organisations and downstream actors in the supply chain have to collect, store and convert data repeatedly – requiring greater effort and making the process more susceptible to errors.  

Digital standards for product traceability along supply chains could significantly improve efficiency and facilitate information exchange within supply chains. Such standards would serve as a basis for data exchange and reliable documentation of corporate due diligence obligations. Interoperability of traceability systems from producer to consumer would therefore benefit all actors along the supply chain, providing a way to tackle issues such as transparency, avoiding deforestation or ensuring living incomes for farmers. 

From coexistence to collaboration

One goal of DIASCA is to develop common open standards to support interoperability between traceability systems.  From a due diligence content perspective, DIASCA focuses on regulatory requirements regarding deforestation and living incomes and wages. In view of the EU legislative proposal, DIASCA is working to develop solutions and validate them through real-world reference projects. It is intended to establish common best practice recommendations for overcoming the current challenges of data exchange between traceability applications by defining and applying global, open and cross-sectoral standards.  

DIASCA aims at facilitating and supporting:

  • Compatibility between different systems, leading to far more efficient data exchange along agricultural supply chains; 
  • Greater efficiency of data collection at origin by making data comparable and (re-)useable for a variety of purposes; 
  • Freedom of choice and improved access to digital solutions for all supply chain actors;  
  • Participation of smallholder organisations in the benefits of due diligence legislation; 
  • Higher incomes for smallholders due to greater transparency in agricultural supply chains.

DIASCA: Working together towards an interoperable ecosystem of digital solutions in agriculture to benefit producers.  

From data standards to digital public infrastructure (DPI) for EUDR compliance 

The EU regulation on deforestation-free products will come into force on 30 December 2024, and requires the digital capture of specific data to ensure compliance with this regulation: 

  • Geolocation of fields: It is required to collect geodata of agricultural land, either in the form of polygon coordinates for fields or at least as geopoints for areas under 4 hectares. 
  • Forest monitoring: reliable methods are needed, based on satellite imagery, to accurately assess whether or not deforestation has occurred within a given time period.  
  • Traceability: information and data on the origin of the product must be passed on via traceability solutions along the entire supply chain up to import into the EU market. 

 

So far, there is a lack of proven and cost-effective solutions that can meet all three of these requirements. For this reason, a consortium consisting of DIASCA/GIZ, Linux Foundation/AgStack, COSA, and CGIAR is actively working on the development of a prototype for an integrated, open-source digital public infrastructure (DPI) that will be used to meet the EUDR directives. This DPI is based on several existing digital infrastructures and software components. The open-source applications are primarily intended to support smallholders and producer organizations in effectively implementing the requirements of the EUDR. 

You can learn more about Digital Public Infrastructure and AgStack's work in the following video:

Get involved with DIASCA

The project works through a multi-actor cooperation of producer organisations, technology providers, implementing organisations, corporations and regulatory authorities. 

DIASCA was kicked off on 7 September 2022 with more than 60 international experts gathering around the first virtual round table.

The first phase until July 2024 is designed as follows:

1. Stakeholder interviews haven taken place prior to the kick-off event. See the presentation and recording on results and derived hypotheses.

2. Iterative approach via a series of roundtable talks

3. Three subgroups on Traceability, Geospatial Data: forest monitoring and Entity-based Data: farm income, for which you can register below.

4. Cross-check of results through field-level reference projects with stakeholders (please get in touch via the form below to share your ideas with us)

5. Recommendations as input for standardisation bodies and processes

Are you interested in actively participating in one or more DIASCA working groups or would you like to be informed about their results? Then register now via this form!

Registration form

Recording 5th Round Table DIASCA (English)

Recording 4th Round Table DIASCA (English)

Recording 3rd Round Table DIASCA (English)

Recording 2nd Round Table DIASCA (English)

Recording 1st Round Table DIASCA (English)

Further Materials
Background Information

The technical background paper provides an overview of existing GS1 standards that enable traceability and interoperability (classifications, data models, system and certification standards).

This document summarises the results of the stakeholder interviews on interoperability and presents the derived hypotheses.

This interactive visualization provides an overview of existing standards relevant to the traceability, forest monitoring, and living income working groups.

5th Round Table

Introduction by Lars Kahnert (GIZ)

Traceability Working Group Updates by Brian King (CGIAR) & John Keogh (McGill University)

Forest Monitoring Working Group Updates by Matthew Himmel (COSA) and  Rémi d’Annunzio (FAO)

Farm income and cost of production Working Group Updates by Jessica Mullan (COSA)

4th Round Table

Introduction by Lars Kahnert (GIZ)

Forest Monitoring Working Group Updates by Rémi d’Annunzio

Traceability Working Group Updates by Brian King (CGIAR) & John Keogh (McGill University)

Farm income and cost of production Working Group Updates by Jessica Mullan (COSA)

3rd Round Table

Introduction by Lars Kahnert (GIZ)

Geospatial Forest Monitoring by Liam Brody (COSA)

Forest Data Partnersip by Rémi d’Annunzio (FAO)

AgStack & AssetRegistry by Sumer Johal (Linux Foundation / AgStack)

Income & Cost of Production by Jessica Mullan (COSA)

The Kenyan Approach for Interoperability in the Coffee Sector by Daniel Mbithi (Nairobi Coffee Exchange)

2nd Round Table

Please find the presentation of the second DIASCA Round Table here. 

Please find the summary of the second DIASCA Round Table here. 

1st Round Table

Please find the summary of the first DIASCA Round Table here. 

Objectives by Lars Kahnert 

This presentation by Lars Kahnert from GIZ Bonn describes the current situation with regards to data exchange between digital solutions and points out why interoperability is urgently needed. It gives an insight on the objectives, the vision and the setup of the interoperability round table

Introduction by Tim Bartram

The presentation by Tim Bartram from GS1 Germany sheds light on DIASCA, it’s aim and the concrete working structure, which consists of round tables, working groups and reference projects, so that recommendations as input for standardisation processes can be formulated at a later stage.

Introduction to tracebility by Niklas Kuhnert

This presentation by Niklas Kuhnert from GS1 Germany presents the three pillars of interoperability and gives examples of traceability systems in use.

Introduction to Entity and geospatial data by Daniele Giovannucci 

In this presentation, Daniele Giovannucci from the Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA) describes why interoperability of sustainability data, like entity/farm data and forest-monitoring data, is important and provides insights into some case studies from this field of work.

Interview Results and Hypotheses by Julian Majert 

Julian Majert from GS1 Germany summarizes the findings from stakeholder interviews that have been conducted prior to the first round table. The presentation describes the interview results and the hypotheses derived from them for the upcoming work of DIASCA.

DIASCA Webinar

Slides from the DIASCA Webinar with AgStack/Linux Foundation and CGIAR on AgStack’s open-source geospatial registry.

Working Group: Farm Income /Cost of Production

Metrics/Semantics: The document presents a consolidated set of guidelines for gathering data on commonly accepted farm actual income and cost of production metrics.

DIASCA Updates

DIASCA Update #2

The latest edition of the DIASCA News provides a comprehensive update on the alliance's recent activities and initiatives. Highlights include insights from the Round Table meeting in December 2023, where advancements from three working groups were showcased, focusing on data standards for traceability, forest monitoring, and farm income. Additionally, there's a spotlight on regulatory developments, particularly regarding the EU Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products, with updates on the Global Team Europe Initiative (TEI) and the launch of the EU Forest Observatory. The newsletter also features collaborative projects aimed at digital integration within agricultural supply chains, emphasizing standardization and last-mile traceability efforts in industries such as coffee and palm oil.
 

Read the DIASCA Update #2

DIASCA Update #1

The first DIASCA update aims to keep the community informed about the latest developments in data standardization and interoperability within agricultural supply chains. It highlights upcoming events, such as Round Table meetings and Working Group sessions, focusing on topics like traceability, farm income, and forest monitoring. Additionally, the newsletter announces new partnerships and collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening compliance with regulations such as the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and promoting open-source technology and open science initiatives.
 

Read the DIASCA Update #1