Farmers views sought on future of digital grain passports

An 11-week industry-wide consultation will open on Monday 20 November to help determine whether a digital passport for combinable crop movements should be implemented by industry.

Work on the introduction of digital passports has been ongoing for a number of years, with industry groups made up of representatives from merchants, hauliers and industry bodies all providing input on how it should operate.

Once the consultation is completed in February 2024, the leadership group, chaired by AHDB board member Stephen Briggs, will decide whether to go ahead with the proposal.

See also: Future of digital grain passports ‘up in the air’

If the leadership group decide to proceed and ask the sector council for funding, a final decision is due to be made by the sector council in March 2024.

Supporters of digital grain passports argue that it will provide real-time information for growers and improve data integrity and sharing, while also reducing costs throughout the supply chain.

However, support for the introduction of digital grain passports has been mixed, with some smaller grain merchants seeing it as another barrier and expense that will only benefit the bigger players in industry.

A spokesperson for the leadership group said substantial time had been invested in developing a business case that addresses all the aspects of the new system, from governance to development and operation. 

‘Simple change’

They added: “In essence, this is a simple change, switching from the pieces of paper currently carried with each load across the country, to a digital equivalent in a robust, secure online system.

“Operationally, it would be a marked change, and we are now keen to hear views from stakeholders across the supply chain on the proposal.”

Individuals wishing to engage with the consultation should contact either their representative trade association or fill in the consultation form on the AHDB website.