Exporters push for adoption of supply chain standards

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Exporters are pushing for the adoption and recognition of global standards in the supply chain to promote product safety and traceability.

In a statement, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. urged the government to “seriously consider globally accepted standards to develop not only trust in cross-border and domestic trade but also ensure consumer safety and protection” during the recent GS1 National Conference.

Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization president Roberto Amores, who also serves as Philexport trustee for the food sector, said compliance to the standards is important particularly for agriculture and food production with growth affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For us to reach full throttle in agriculture, one very significant component is food and agriculture safety that can be met consistently through standards and traceability. Without any form of standard or criteria in the food supply chain, food security and self-sufficiency may not come to fruition for us,” he said.

He said producers, consumers, policymakers and the government should also work together in the development and adoption of global standards to reduce the risk of contamination.

Jesus Varela, who serves as chairman of GS1 Philippines which develops and maintains global standards, said total supply chain visibility has become more important in the digital age.

“In this new digital age where unpredictability is the new normal, total supply chain visibility will be indispensable in tracking specific data related to orders and shipment to allow quick response should an adverse situation arise,” he said.

Jim Leandro Cano, director for agritech at information technology company 8Layer Technologies, said Philippine agriculture could benefit from traceability in terms of ensuring food safety, improving the visibility of loss points and inefficiency in the supply chain, as well as in market transparency.

Traceability is also vital for farmers unable to get loans, as it will allow them access to new financial resources by enabling them to build records and become bankable, he said.

Anna Marie Anastacio, entrepreneur and past president of the Chamber of Cosmetic Industry of the Philippines, said the weak monitoring in the Philippine digital space prevents traceability of banned ingredients, and is unable to stop unregistered, counterfeit or illegal cosmetic products from being sold online, putting at risk consumer safety.

“If we have one consolidated digital system among our government agencies, then all of those processes will be easier, using for instance the GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number),” she said.

The GTIN, an identifier for trade items developed by GS1, is used to look up product information in a database which may belong to a retailer, manufacturer, collector, researcher, or other entities.

“Let’s stop playing catch up with the rest of the world and aim toward being forefront runners of setting the bar in quality standards in the cosmetic global industry,” Anastacio said.



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