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UK retailers team up with government to protect supply chains and international workers

UK retailers team up with government to protect supply chains and international workers

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has launched the ‘vulnerable supply chains’ facility in partnership with some of the UK’s largest retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer. Retail Gazette reports that the £6.85 million fund includes investment from UK businesses to keep vulnerable workers in their supply chains in safe and secure employment and bids to ensure a steady supply of products like vegetables, coffee and clothes. The fund consists of £4.85 million from the DFID and a £2 million from its retail partners.

The initiative will focus primarily on supply chains and workers in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. Meanwhile, retailers will work with charities and non-governmental organisations to improve working conditions and support greater access to healthcare in some of the world’s poorest countries.

M&S has pledged to work with international aid charity Care to improve health services for 80,000 factory workers in Bangladesh. The government said the scheme aims to help alleviate the ongoing disruption to international supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK’s International development secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said, “We want to ensure people in Britain can continue to buy affordable, high-quality goods from around the world. This new fund will strengthen vital supply chains for UK consumers while supporting some of the most vulnerable workers in developing countries. It will make a real difference to people in the UK and abroad.”

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Concerns over spike of Covid-19 cases in US produce sector

Concerns over spike of Covid-19 cases in US produce sector copyright. United Fresh facebook page, DNO Produce

© DNO Produce (United Fresh)


The US produce sector is alarmed by the growing number of coronavirus cases reported among fruit and vegetable packers, according to Reuters. Besides the health risks to staff, the problem is leading to labour shortages that threaten to disrupt US produce supplies. Health officials in the state of Washington report 600 agricultural workers testing positive for Covid-19 in Yakima Country in May, 62% of whom were from the apple industry. For figure until 10th June, the county had the highest per-capita infection rate on the west coast of the US. In Monterey County, California, known for its high concentration of vegetable farms, 39% of all Covid-19 cases were among agricultural workers.

And it’s not only on the west coast that there’s a problem. Immokalee (Florida), a tomato production hub, has also reported a spike in coronavirus cases. Given the importance of the fresh produce industry, the USDA and the FDA have said the government could use the Defense Production Act to protect fruit and vegetable packhouses and keep them in operation. The act would allow packers some liability protection should their employees fall sick with the virus.

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DiMuto Joins International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as Trade Technology Partner

DiMuto Joins International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as Trade Technology Partner
DiMuto 4T Suite Solution /// Source: Press Release


DiMuto, a tech-based trade solutions platform, is now the official Trade Technology Partner for International Pineapple Organization, a global trade organization. The new partnership will see DiMuto providing support to IPO members to digitalize their produce and supply chains while strengthening the IPO’s presence in Southeast Asia.


Singapore, 15 April 2020 – DiMuto, a trade tech solutions platform that provides end-to-end supply chain visibility for global agri-food businesses, has joined the International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as an official Trade Technology Partner. The new collaboration will see DiMuto providing support to the global pineapple association not only through its trade technology solutions, but also for R&D and marketing efforts.

The IPO is a Global Trade Organization of pineapple growers from pineapple growing regions around the world, maximize efficiency and profit for the pineapple industry through identifying common needs in Buying, Marketing, Cost Savings, and Consulting. With active presence in Latin America as well as the US, the cooperative’s mission is to identify common needs among its members and leverage the group to maximize efficiencies and economies of scale.

According to market research by Tridge, 28.3 million metric tonnes of pineapples were produced in 2018, and the export of fresh pineapples was valued at US$2.1 billion, increasing by 11% from 2014 to 2018. The top pineapple exporting markets are tropical countries such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. A 2018 FreshPlaza reports that global consumption of pineapples continues to grow with the largest growth markets in Asia such as China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines.

Under the partnership with IPO, DiMuto will be working with members to support the digitalization of their pineapple supply chains, as well as help strengthen the presence of IPO in the Southeast Asia region, in particular pineapple exporting markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.

Using the DiMuto 4T Suite Solution, a 4-part trade technology solution combining blockchain, AI and IoT, DiMuto digitalizes the agri-food supply chain for data visibility and trade transparency, aiming to solve the industry’s various challenges such as food waste, food safety and food sustainability.

The DiMuto 4T Suite Solution creates traceability for every single fruit as they move through the supply chain by capturing important data at key supply chain stages. Individual products and cartons are tagged with DiMuto QR codes to assign each one a digital identity. These products and cartons are then digitalized through DiMuto’s proprietary Digital Asset Creation devices (DACky). Buyers can then use the DiMuto Receiver App to acknowledge the receipt of goods and provide feedback, all recorded on the DiMuto Platform to truly close the supply chain loop on one single platform. With the visibility provided by data captured as the product moves through the supply chain, DiMuto helps to reduce disputes over quality and creating trust amongst trade parties.

“IPO is always on the lookout for technology and solutions that would benefit our pineapple growers. I have every confidence that DiMuto’s technology will help create supply chain visibility for our members from around the world and help them grow their international presence,” said William Cavan, Executive Director of IPO.

“We are thrilled to have the support of International Pineapple Organization as we strengthen our presence in the produce industry. With our technology, IPO growers will be able to show buyers the high quality of their pineapples for every single carton before it is shipped. This creates trust and reduces uncertainty amidst the disruptions brought on by COVID-19,” said Gary Loh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DiMuto.

This partnership comes hot on the heels of DiMuto’s latest investment from Latin Leap, a Venture Capital Studio focusing on opening up opportunities in Latin America for outheast Asian tech-scale ups. To date, DiMuto has tagged over 30 million fruits and tracked and traced over US$100million worth of agrifood trades. With presence in 7 countries including US, China, Indonesia, Australia and Mexico, the partnership with IPO will strengthen DiMuto’s international footprint in the global fresh produce industry.

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6th edition of Fresh Supply Chain Asia on June 16-18th in Shanghai

Press release

All for Fresh!

Since its debut in 2014, PeriLog–Fresh Supply Chain Asia (original name: Fresh Logistics Asia) has always been in a leading position of the “fresh” industry. In 2020, the exhibition will take a new positioning and be fully upgraded to cover the entire fresh supply chain industry. PeriLog–Fresh Supply Chain Asia 2020 will showcase the new business types, models and technologies in all the links along the fresh supply chain: from the production process to the end consumers. The exhibition sectors includes solutions for cold chain logistics, urban distribution, fresh goods processing and packaging technology, fresh retail and brand marketing to create a complete industry ecology.

Six reasons to attend

  • Get an overview of the entire value chain
  • Perfect opportunity to meet important decision-makers
  • Benefit from the progressive Chinese market
  • Profit from the high number of participants
  • Catch up on latest developments and exchange knowledge—at the great supporting program
  • Make use of our support services to boost your exhibition success

Four sectors cover the entire fresh supply chain industry

  • Cold chain: cold chain service, cold chain transportation equipment, new fresh product distribution technology, cold storage construction and warehouse automation
  • Fresh technology: fresh product processing and packaging equipment and technology, industrialization of catering, fresh garbage disposal
  • Fresh retail: smart retail equipment, smart retail technology and solutions, store planning
  • Fresh market: fresh product marketing solution providers

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European countries seek solutions to guarantee fresh produce supplies

In France, to overcome the shortage of workers in fiels, the government has created a website for people to apply to jobs without losing their rights to go back to their jobs after the quarantine. /// ©
In France, to overcome the shortage of workers in fields, the government has created a website for people to apply for jobs without losing their right to go back to their jobs after the quarantine. /// ©


Governments of the EU are taking steps to prevent shortages of fresh fruits and vegetables. Measure suggested so far include setting up ‘green lanes’ to allow fresh produce to move quickly across EU borders, recruiting a ‘shadow army’ of harvesters, and loosening travel rules for migrant workers, according to Reuters. For now supplies are not being interrupted, but pressure is building in source countries in Africa and within Europe.

Spanish operators are unable to hire the necessary seasonal workers from Morocco to help with the strawberry harvest in Huelva. In the production areas, absentee rates are reported to be as high as 50% in recent days, according to agricultural worker union representative Monica Vega. The same issue is affecting the asparagus harvest, which is hindered by the need to overcome major challenges such as moving workers from accommodation to farms while maintaining social distancing. Other countries, such as Switzerland and Germany, are experiencing similar difficulties with recruiting workers from abroad

Freshfel’s general delegate, Philippe Binard, said that in response to these supply problems, supermarkets may switch towards selling produce that is less labour-intensive and can be more easily mechanised in the supply chain.

In Germany, whose agri-food sector hires 286,000 seasonal workers every year, the country’s agricultural  minister is looking into whether Lufthansa can fly in the required personnel if they can prove they are not infected. There has also been mention of temporarily extending the time limit for seasonal workers beyond the current 70 days.

In France, which expects a shortfall of around 200,000 workers during the harvest period, the Agriculture Minister, Didier Guillaume, issued a rallying cry appealing to workers who have recently lost jobs due to the pandemic to help with the harvest and form a ‘shadow army’.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, a major supplier of green beans has told half of its workers to stay home on mandatory leave because of the industry’s inability to ship orders, while demand surges in Europe. Okisegere Ojepat, chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, which groups over 200 growers and exporters, said, “[European] stocks are being depleted by the day.” Meanwhile, another major supplier, South Africa, is just starting a 21-day lockdown. “We were in reasonably good shape until earlier this week but now things are becoming very difficult. More and more flights are being grounded, so I expect there are going to be big disruptions,” said Hans Muylaert-Gelein, managing director at Fruits Unlimited, a South Africa-based exporter of fresh produce to the UK.