The IBERCHAIN Operational Group was born with the objective of improve traceability of 100% Iberian pork pieces and meats under the application of the 100% Iberian Autochthonous Breed Logo as a differentiated quality brand and is currently continuing with the execution of the project entitled «Implementation of Blockchain technology in the value chain of meat labelled as 100% Iberian Autochthonous Breed». The project aims to implement Blockchain technology in the Iberian pork industry and support it through an objective system of identification or racial discrimination thanks to the development of automated NIRS technology. Thus, this project seeks to improve the image and confidence in the food industry, always focused on pig production related to the Dehesa, through a differentiation of quality compared to other meats that abound in the market and do not meet a guarantee of 100% Iberian breed.

During these first months of project development, we have proceeded to the analysis of the requirements of the traceability system through Blockchain and the automation of the NIRS system. After that, the platform was programmed and software tests were carried out. In addition, for the automated control of racial purity, automatisms have been developed for the NIRS equipment in the slaughter and cutting line, at the same time that high predictive and discriminating capacity calibration models have been developed for this technology. Once these objectives have been achieved, it is planned to start up and validate the system that will allow the individual characterization of each piece to be marketed, which will initially be carried out for hams and shoulders and fresh meat from 100% Iberian pigs to ensure the correct functioning of the system and thus ensure a robust system that generates confidence in all the links in the chain. In this way, the aim is to achieve greater consumer confidence, avoiding fraud in Iberian products thanks to the security and reliability of Blockchain technology. Subsequently, this process could be applied and extended to the cuts and other products derived from 100% Iberian pork, increasing the scope of the project.

The IBERCHAIN Operational Group is led by the Spanish Association of Iberian Pig Breeders (AECERIBER), as the agent of maximum representation of Iberian pig farmers. In addition, the Operational Group has one of the largest Iberian pig cooperatives (IBERCOM) and also three of the most important ham industries in the Iberian pig sector representing 3 DDOOPP of Iberian pigs such as Señorío de Montanera S.L. (Badajoz), COVAP (Córdoba) and Sánchez Romero Carvajal S.A. (Huelva). For the development of the project, the companies of the primary sector have two technological partners, Cedesa Digital S.L and Coveless, S.L., that will develop the platform and the automatisms. Likewise, the group has the support and collaboration of the Iberian Pig R&D Centre (INIA), the research group «Engineering of Agro-livestock Production Systems» of the University of Cordoba and Imasde Agroalimentaria, S.L., which participates as technical coordinator of the project. This project is supported by the European Association for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability Innovation (AEI-AGRI) and financed under the National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment.

Link: Iberchain Group Website

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