Image: Confidex

Banana Grower Tracks Harvest with NFC Tags from Confidex

Confidex NFC tags will monitor fruit growth, provide supply chain visibility!

Confidex, a leading designer and supplier of short-range wireless identification solutions, has announced that the Da K’Nang Laba Banana Cooperative in Vietnam is deploying more than 100,000 Confidex Ironside Micro NFC tags to manage and track fruit in the field.

Da K’Nang is working with Confidex partner Aquabit Spirals, which provided the NFC tags and a mobile application for managing and monitoring the bananas.

“The solution was to be used in a banana farm, which has heavy rain and high temperature,” says Aquabit’s Kosuke San. “The tags had to have a high durability under such an environment and also to the shocks occurring during the farm works. Ironside Micro NFC was selected in order to provide a stable performance over years in these extreme circumstances.”

Bananas are an important part of the agricultural economy in Vietnam. Production has increased more than 3% each year over the past several decades.

Since the Cooperative was formed in October 2018, Da K’Nang has grown from seven farming households to 40 in early 2020. The Cooperative is working with a partner to ship Laba bananas to Japan as part of a five-year agreement. The Cooperative will handle harvesting, processing, packaging and exporting the bananas.

The Cooperative is already shipping some five tons of bananas to Japan each year. Because demand is so high, they expect to increase daily shipments by 20% in 2020, with the export volume reaching 15 tons per day.

Managing and tracking such a high volume of fruit is challenging. To help, the Japanese partner is providing the Cooperative with the electronic chips to monitor banana plant development across 50 hectares of land.

The Ironside family of tags was designed for use in industrial applications where they would be exposed to variable weather conditions and rough handling. The tags have an IP68 rating for protection against the elements, and are available as UHF RFID or NFC variants with a read range up to 10m.

“The rugged design of the Ironside tags is perfect for the harsh conditions of a banana plantation,” said Paul Broekhuizen, EVP of Confidex Smart Industries EMEA/APAC. “This innovative, first-of-its-kind application will showcase the visibility and productivity benefits that NFC tags can provide throughout the agricultural supply chain.”

The NFC tags are mounted on iron pipes in the open near each banana tree. The data collected from the tags will help monitor banana development, as well as improve management of the banana plantation throughput and for supply chain management.

Using the NFC tag data, the Cooperative and its partners will, for the first time, have access to digital data that can be used for both agricultural activities and for logistics management once the bananas have been harvested.

The software for the application was designed by Aquabit Spirals, using its proprietary NFC software platform. Aquabit develops “Hyperlink of Things” applications that allow tagged objects to become online service activators in the physical world.

In the first stage of the project, the plantation expects to deploy 105,000 NFC tags, and the next stage is expected to be deployed within this year.

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Paul Broekhuizen
Paul Broekhuizen
Executive Vice President Smart Industries
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alexander Abeln
Alexander Abeln
Sales Director EMEA, Smart Industries
Munich, Germany
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