USAID Oceans’ Partners Receive Award for Blockchain Traceability Innovation

USAID Oceans participated in the SAP Innovation Award ceremony to congratulate its partner and former grantee, MDPI, and its partners Anova Food LLC., and PT Harta Samudra for their success in implementing blockchain seafood traceability. Photo Credit:MDPI/M.Syifa

Rapidly accelerating innovations and technologies have become key drivers in establishing end-to-end traceability in complex seafood supply chains where products move through numerous stages and stakeholders from catch to consumers

In 2018, USAID Oceans’ grantee and partner, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), together with Anova Food LLC., an American seafood importer, and PT Harta Samudra, a tuna processor in Indonesia, collaborated with Bumble Bee Foods, North America’s largest branded seafood company, and SAP logistics, a German-based technology company. Their mission was to implement blockchain technology in their tuna supply chains, not only to strengthen seafood traceability throughout the supply chain for small-scale fisheries but also ensure food safety for consumers worldwide. In recognition of this accomplishment, on June 18, MDPI, Anova Food LLC., and PT Harta Samudra were awarded the “Social Hero” SAP Innovation Award 2020, selected from amongst 433 candidates globally. The award recognizes their remarkable success in bringing blockchain traceability to Indonesia’s small-scale handline fisheries for the first time, which enables fishers guarantee their products are sustainably sourced and participate in the Fair Trade product program.

Looking back on the path to achieve this goal, in August 2017, USAID Oceans awarded a grant to MDPI, an independent foundation that promotes conservation of fisheries resources and ecosystems, to strengthen fisheries management by coordinating with government and industry stakeholders to implement and test electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) systems to support and empower small-scale fisheries. Through the grant, USAID Oceans supported MDPI to develop and implement initial pilot uses of TraceTales, an eCDT tool that enables seafood processors to capture data throughout the processing stage. TraceTales allows accurate and efficient data collection to support business intelligence and decision-making.

In 2018, MDPI collaborated with SAP Logistics to implement TraceTales along with SAP’s blockchain technology at multiple Indonesia-based processing plants, including PT Harta Samudra in Ambon and Buru, as well as PT Aneka Sumber Tata Bahari Tulehu and PT Blue Ocean Grace International (BOGI), a seafood supplier of Anova Foods LLC. The blockchain technology uses encryption and a computing system that prevents data from being tampered, removed or recreated to cover up any errors. The technology enables accurate and efficient data collection that can be used for analytics, to enhance transparency to prevent catch from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing from entering the supply chain, and to ensure food safety as well as increase revenues for businesses by helping to trace products for recalls. 

USAID Oceans and MDPI implemented the first TraceTales system pilot with USAID Oceans’ First Mover partner, BOGI, in February 2018. Photo Credit: USAID Oceans/ M. Donnelly

On June 18, USAID Oceans representatives also participated in the SAP award ceremony as a contributor to this accomplishment. “We congratulate MDPI on receiving this award and celebrate the foundation’s continued innovations and efforts in support of Indonesia’s fishing communities and their social and environmental sustainability,” noted USAID Oceans’ Chief of Party, John Parks, on behalf of the program team. USAID Oceans continues to support and collaborate with its partners on the development and implementation of innovative traceability technologies to advance traceability throughout the fisheries supply chain, from point of catch to consumption.

Learn more about USAID Oceans’ support to MDPI on the implementation of TraceTales from this case study: The Value of Traceability for Business (Anova Food, LLC.)