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EIPagri.NRW-project joint effort for more Animal Welfare (GeTie)

EQAsce has implemented the EIPagri.NRW project “GeTie” as a lead partner. It was funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with the participation of the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The aim of the project was to provide greater benefits to pig-keeping farms via a web-based cloud platform so that investments in more animal welfare pay off better.

 

DURATION

February 2020 until January 2022.

 

INITIAL SITUATION

Pig farms already operate different programs and various efforts to achieve a higher level of animal welfare. Corresponding proofs are often not available digitally but are written on paper and stored in files. The technical possibilities are so far developed that a higher level of transparency regarding the individual effort in relation to animal welfare is easy to establish in our times. Taking into account the a tense market for the sale of pigs in Germany, farmers are looking for new income or marketing opportunities. By increasing transparency, the investment in more animal welfare should be taken into account, especially at the point of pricing, in a way that the effort pays off for the farmers. This will create an incentive to continue investing in more animal welfare in the future.

THE PROJECT AND THE OPERATIONAL GROUP

The Operational Group of the GeTie project consisted of the European Educational Cooperative EQAsce, which was represented both as a lead partner and as a project partner. In addition, the group was supported scientifically by the International FoodNetCenter of the University of Excellence Bonn. The project idea was initiated by practical experience and thus seven pig-keeping farms from North Rhine-Westphalia were an essential part of the project. The company ChainPoint was available with its expertise in IT, web platforms, chain management and business models. The Operational Group was completed by two organizations that provided a link between the group and additional farmers: Rheinischer Erzeugerring für Mastschweine e.V. and the service provider VERAVIS.

Together, the aim was to explore the possibilities of greater transparency, to find out how greater transparency can be created and communicated, and finally to develop a business model with which the project idea can be put into practice. The GeTie project was funded for two years and reached thousands of people – practitioners, interested parties, supporters.

The joint effort consists in the fact that all actors in a value chain have a responsibility to ensure that the product meets the qualitative specifications at the end. With regard to “animal welfare” this means that all participants must make their contribution to animal welfare. If only one actor in the chain does not take such care, this has an impact on the final product and its characteristics with regard to “animal welfare”. Therefore, everyone must participate in animal welfare measures. The appropriate coordination among each other and the exchange of information are of the utmost importance.

 

RESULTS

  • Animal welfare characteristics can be easily captured digitally. On the one hand, it is possible to record data through already existing digital systems. On the other hand, data can be entered manually into statistical programs (e.g. MS Excel) or directly by voice input – for example, during the inspection walk through the barn.
  • Existing data belong to those who collected them. If farmers have invested in technology, they alone should have control over the data it produces. This opens up new marketing opportunities: Products are marketed together with data packages that contain evidence and accurate information that is then of interest to suppliers or downstream market partners. A new form of information exchange becomes possible that pays off for all parties involved. Not only product- and process-related data is collected here – personal data relating to qualification and expertise is also very important.
  • Data comes mainly from four processes. The product, process and personal requirements along the (pork) meat value chain are imposed and controlled on the one hand by each other and on the other hand by the legislator. Data is mainly generated by the four processes “qualification”, “self-assessment”, “2nd party audit” and “3rd party audit”.
  • A web-based cloud platform was created to enable efficient and easy-to-use data management. Here, data is managed, individually released and securely exchanged. In addition, the platform enables direct communication at eye level between all market partners involved in the value chain. This creates a high degree of transparency and promotes competition for a high level of animal welfare and correspondingly qualitative products.
  • The web-based platform is launched as a platform cooperative. The participants are shareholders, users and managers of the digital solution at the same time. The more participants there are, the better the platform runs, the more democratic the further development processes are, and the more diverse the offering and exchange via the platform becomes. Transparency and direct communication thus become essential drivers in terms of animal welfare.
  • What has been tested in the project can be extended and expanded to other areas. Instead of focusing only on pig farms, other types of animals from agriculture, such as cattle or poultry, can also be mapped via this platform with their respective production chains. Additionally, the label “animal welfare” can be replaced by – for example – “sustainability”. Interfaces to current and yet to be developed programs can be established easily. Data flow and data management thus remain secure in the future. And the platform is also designed for modern work via different end devices, for which an app – for example for smartphone use – has been developed parallel to the website version.

FURTHER PROJECTS:  TriangleNET.NRW  VR/AR-Tools  digiTiGeMa  |  Platform Cooperative