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Historical document

Banana production and marketing information system - phase 1 (BA12016)

Key research provider: Naturelab
Publication date: February, 2014

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

The aim of Stage 1 of this project completed by NatureLab, Agtrix and TRAP Services, was to create a database that could hold industry information and be used to monitor and forecast production.

The outcome from the work done not only provided the industry with a system to forecast long-term trends in production, but also enabled the industry to respond more quickly to biosecurity risks and natural disasters.

Using the advanced AgDat technology allowed the project to focus on ways that the data may be collated initially and maintained through time, rather than on developing technology.

This initial stage of the study identified data recording opportunities in the supply chain, and methods of data collection as part of normal business operations. The most viable opportunities identified in the study included the industry maintaining the mapping of production areas, and having growers recording bell injections and bagging numbers, or recording pack-out details and transport consignment details.

The study was undertaken over five months involving a focus group with eight growers (21 farms) representing less than 15 per cent of the industry, as well as field staff responsible for biosecurity and other industry and market representatives.

Farms managed by the focus group were mapped by the study team using AgDat to demonstrate how the system could provide the base production data needed for long term production trends, as well as providing growers the opportunity to record data about their farming operations through an interactive web mapping interface. The types of data collated included bell injection and bagging numbers, chemical and fertilizer applications, and activities such as desuckering, deleafing, irrigation and nurse suckering.

The industry recognized that up-to-date mapping of production areas could play a key role in identifying longer term trends in production, and would also prove to be a valuable asset in any response that the industry takes in bio-security threats or natural disasters. While the industry could take control of maintaining mapping data to monitor long-term trends in production, the growers were also provided with a system to record activities on their farm through a familiar interface that most people relate to – a map. Growers were able to record data about what was being done on the farm, on their computer or mobile device, and this data was then be printed to meet assurance programs like Freshcare.

Growers also found the website useful for measuring areas or calculating tree numbers for a new block.

The system was secure so that no-one else can see the detailed data entered by a grower, yet other less sensitive information could be used by the industry to make more informed decisions when planning marketing or responding to crisis.

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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the banana industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2015. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).