Bayer taps Kezzler for seed supply chain traceability

Bayer has signed a new agreement with Norway’s Kezzler to provide traceability for its seed products and protect farmers from counterfeits.

The new master service agreement (MSA) follows a four-year working relationship between the two companies, but the value of the deal hasn’t been disclosed.

Kezzler has a serialisation-based platform – delivered via a software as a service (SaaS) model – that can be used to provide traceability, supply chain visibility and authentication of goods.

Bayer is one of the top companies worldwide in crop science and agriculture, with a wide portfolio in corn, soybeans, cereals and other products like fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.

It has made the digitalisation of its supply chain, research and development, e-commerce and marketing a key strategy for the division, which had turnover of €4.8bn in the first half of this year out of total group sales of almost €23bn.

Falsification of seeds have caused problems for farmers around the world, including unexpected crop failures and low yields that can threaten the livelihoods of producers already struggling to make ends meet. Fake seeds can also pose a risk to public health and the environment, according to Kezzler.

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“Consumers are increasingly demanding farm-to-fork visibility for the food they consume,” according to Unnikrishnan Nair, who heads Bayer’s digital transformation process for the crop science division.

“Achieving transparency on the origin of seeds and the supply chain to farmers is the first step in delivering full traceability.”

He went on to say that the aim is to set up a platform with a single-code repository that will allow data to be stored in multiple locations.

That will provide “a standardised approach that is scalable and adaptable to national needs and requirements,” whilst also opening up new ways for Bayer to communicate with consumers and retailers.

This is the second deal in the agricultural sector that Kezzler has signed this year. In May, the Oslo-based company was contracted to provide traceability and authentication to RunHui Agricultural Comprehensive Development in China.

The Chinese project involves the application of unique, secure, and traceable QR codes to packs of Weixian radishes, a regional delicacy, with a four-digit hidden pin code allowing the packed to be authenticated.

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