Deadline nears to have say on digital grain passports

Farmers have less than three weeks to feed into an industry-wide consultation into whether digital grain passports should be introduced to replace paper passports.

The consultation is due to close on 2 February and is designed to allow farmers, merchants and hauliers to feed in their views on the matter.

See also: Oilseeds markets ease back with prices at £340/t

Farm businesses can take part in the consultation either directly by completing the consultation form online or by contacting the relevant industry trade organisations.

Once all responses are received, a leadership group chaired by AHDB board member Stephen Briggs will decide whether to proceed with the project.

The leadership group also includes representatives from the Agricultural Industries Confederation, Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain, NFU, NFU Scotland, UK Flour Millers and Seed Crushers and Oil Processors’ Association.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The consultation is a vital process in helping to refine and improve the business case, while answering a raft of industry questions.

“This consultation is to ensure that the business case proposed is robust and comprehensive.

“There have been several events across the country where passport users have taken the opportunity to feed in their thoughts and ask questions. This has been beneficial in establishing views on the business case and highlighting gaps that need to be addressed.”


Once the consultation is completed, the leadership group will determine whether to move forward with the project.

If it does move forward, the group will then ask the AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds sector council for funding for the development stage.

A final decision by the sector board would be due in March 2024.

The timeline to introduce digital grain passports has dragged on and it was previously due to be implemented from June 2023. However, disagreements between industry groups about the businesses case delayed the process last year.

Several smaller merchants told Farmers Weekly they were unhappy with the proposal due to concerns about cost and further “box-ticking” and an arbitrator was appointed to represent their views at industry discussions.

However, recent estimates suggest that the implementation of digital grain passports could save the industry about £6m over a 10-year period based on projected running and set-up costs.