April 17, 2024

Tech consortium unites with organic farm estate to unlock Welsh lamb exports

Welsh premium organic lamb producer Rhug Estate, based in Corwen, has partnered with an international consortium of tech, trade, and veterinary industry leaders on a supply chain project to enable the frictionless movement of quality lamb products to export markets.

ubloquity – the lead company in a newly formed technology consortium (TETA) – has secured £50,000 in funding from the Welsh Government’s Technology Connected scheme to develop the blockchain-enabled application for Rhug.

The system replaces manual ‘in person’ veterinary checks with remote digital checks – revolutionising supply chain assurance and making the export process simpler, cheaper, and significantly more efficient.

The award-winning 12,500 acre Rhug Estate is a 100% organic, sustainable farming business which exports premium lamb from Wales to hospitality markets across Europe. Since Brexit, Rhug’s organic lamb exports have reduced by 50% due to increased administration burdens, highly complex custom regulations, veterinary checks and certifications.

On top of this, delivery times have increased from one to six weeks.

The ubloquity-led blockchain solution reimagines the end-to-end supply chain for Rhug by replacing the manual ‘in check’ veterinary process with remote digital checks that are authenticated, highly efficient, and offer significant cost reductions.

This data, along with all the other regulatory information and protocols, is stored on the blockchain, creating a green export lane for Rhug. By achieving trusted trader status, Rhug’s lamb is transported without checks and lengthy time delays.

The TETA consortium was formed in response to the UK government’s Border Target Operating Model, with the innovative grouping creating a pilot programme that securely connects food safety, traceability, and transport data across the supply chain – from farm to processor, distribution centre to border check.

Rob Chester, ubloquity CEO said: “Post-Brexit, red meat exporters face additional regulatory checks and administrative burdens on goods going to the EU, making it more difficult and expensive for customers and restaurants on the continent to source premium goods such as Welsh lamb.

“Blockchain technology can solve this problem and we’re partnering with Rhug and industry experts to deliver a solution that enables frictionless trade and unlocks Welsh lamb exports. Our digital blockchain-enabled application will remove the requirement to deploy expensive and highly qualified vets to conduct manual checks and sign paperwork – significantly lowering the cost of trade to the exporter and freeing up vets to conduct more highly skilled and necessary work.”

Chris Esler, Production Manager, Rhug Estate said: “We’re thrilled to be working with ubloquity and the TETA consortium on a solution that will ensure we can get more fresh, organic lamb to our EU customers – saving money and time across the supply chain. We welcome the support from Technology Connected to help us take the project forward, and enable us to boost quality Welsh lamb exports.”

Paul Brooks, Head of UK Nations/Regions Team at The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) added: “My team and I are focused on helping the Welsh manufacturing sector grow its international markets and trade, so we’re delighted to be supporting this innovative use of blockchain here in the heart of Wales. The use of blockchain to remove friction and enable the seamless movement of goods is to be applauded.”