Project SOSTAB: innovative traceability on the tobacco production chain in Italy
The Italian tobacco production chain has evolved significantly over the last twenty years, and several different activities have converged into larger processing units, which interface themselves with international buyers. Therefore, common targets are required to focus all the growers according to stricter and sustainability-oriented production rules. The project aims to obtain a dynamic traceability model for the TTI tobacco production chain, upgrading its primary production to global market expectancies, according to controls and handling protocols already in force for vegetables for the fresh food market. SOSTAB deployment covers: i) heading of technical guidelines (GAP); ii) cultivation controls; iii) CPA residues matching CORESTA parameters; iv) crossing traceability data with industry grading results, assessing performances by farmer, growing plot, and variety. Data are managed using GIAS platform: web operated, modular and flexible. GIAS and traceability are framed on cadastral data, cultivation plan, storing units, farm resources. GIAS offers real-time response in crossing CPA/fertilizer data from label limits and guideline prescriptions, with planned field applications. Data input and assistance follow “smart” procedures (smartphone/tablet). Currently the programme manages tobacco traceability and storing all farm data. Each farmer is able to check and compare their performance by year, by each growing plot, and variety. Productivity evaluations are supported by objective data, both from the field side and quality performance, achieved at industrial grading. TTI joined the “Agricultural Labor Practices” (ALP) program by JTI, and is presently implementing ALP data management on the same platform. After three years of activity, SOSTAB managed to make farmers more conscious of their potential for improvement through a more attentive application of GAP and via technical indications by the agronomists. Industrial target commitments are now growers’ commitments, and this makes the production chain more aggressive and efficient with positive consequences on the quality of production.