Friday, June 17, 2011

Agro based clusters and traceability

With the recent ecoli incidents in Europe I suspect it may get even worse for farmers in developing countries to sell their products. German authorities are now certain that it was locally grown products that were to blame, but the average consumer may have become more conscious that it matters where foodstuff comes from.

So what should growers of fruit and vegetables in developing countries do to secure market access?

Last weekend I read a FAO report on Agro based clusters in developing countries. I have become involved in the design of such a cluster, with focus on using electronic traceability for creating product documentation. This solution is intended to support the cluster in creating market advantages through the use of modern export and sales support technologies. But can this also be used to make the end consumer trust the products?

A pilot in the eTrace project had success with using traceability information in the dialog with consumers at the point of sale. According to the fish monger “Instead of selling just a few kilos a day, I sold more than 150 kilos over 4 days. This is a very significant increase for us.”

Can similar effects be expected if flowers, fruit and vegetables from developing countries are equipped with traceability information? And how should it be done, by printing the information on the packaging or by providing links to online solutions like this (in Norwegian)?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A small friend

A couple of days ago I moved this young leaf warbler out of the way. It sat on the ground and our cat was in the immediate vicinity! I think he knew about the target, but he stayed at some distance to keep us humans from discovering what was going on.
Well, I moved this little friend over to my neighbours berberis bushes, where it happily jumped into safety.

Those bushes are the stronghold of the birds in the area - there is always activity and a lot of sound. So again the cat was deprived of having fun.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Den norske turistforening opened a new cabin not far from where I live last Sunday. So three dads and six boys went on tour from Thursday to Friday.

The terrain turned out to be tougher than we expected. But we should have known, because that part of the forest is known for its hills and unevenness.

But we made it to Bøvelstad where we had a wonderful evening and a very good sleep, before we headed back home.

This picture shows the group (minus me) as we are about to get back to the cars. We were worn out, but everybody agreed it had been a nice excursion.

I am the walnuts, goo goo g'joob

I have bought two walnut trees. I didn't think they were available in cold Norway, but I stumbled across an enthusiast that had some to spare. So I planted one at home and one in the forest at my cabin.

The one in this picture is the one in my garden. There I already have hazelnuts, so if the trees start producing walnuts I can dream of supplying the household with varieties of nuts.

Last winter we had long periods as low as -20 celsius. The producer of these trees claim that his trees can stand this type of temperature, and colder. He lives not far from where my cabin is, and the climate there is colder than at my house. So I hope that the one in the forest will thrive. I planted it near a small pond that will keep it with water.

I will have to wait some years before they start carrying fruit, but to be on the safe side I will contribute to global warming in the meantime to help the trees' survival!