Barilla teams up with xFarm to make the agricultural supply chain sustainable through digital farming
Thanks to the Barilla Farming platform developed by xFarm Technologies together with Life Cycling Engineering, the CNR-Agrosat, and Perfect Food, the 2,600 European companies that supply soft wheat to Barilla for its ‘Carta del Mulino’ supply chain will be guided through a supply chain optimisation process by 2023 to improve farmers’ work and promote production sustainability
Promoting sustainable supply chains to constantly improve product offerings and promote quality food. This is the goal that Barilla, through its leading bakery products brand for the Italian market Mulino Bianco, wants to achieve teaming up with xFarm Technologies; the tech company, in collaboration with Life Cycling Engineering, the CNR-Agrosat and Perfect Food, has developed for the international food group Barilla Farming, a new digital platform to easily help farmers and all operators in the supply chain at every stage of production, from farm management to monitoring farmer data, with specific wheat disease outbreak risk alerts, to order management along the supply chain. The project is grounded in a shared vision of promoting and fostering sustainable production. Barilla Farming thus becomes the digital tool that simplifies the communication of data from the supply chain of the ‘Carta del Mulino’ (The ‘Mulino Charter’), which is the Barilla group’s rulebook for the sustainable cultivation of soft wheat; the ‘Carta del Mulino’ sprang from the collaboration with dozens of mills, hundreds of storage centers and thousands of farms.
The sustainability of the supply chain in one app
The pilot project with Barilla began in 2020 from an initial involvement of 10 farms, which grew to 150 in 2021. It will go full-scale over the next growing season and become fully operational by April 2023 when it will involve 2,600 Italian and European farms that supply soft wheat to Barilla. From the 2022- 2023 season, the use of Barilla Farming will become a rule of the ‘Carta del Mulino’.
The platform is available on both mobile and desktop and enables the comprehensive management of the supply chain. It helps both farmers to monitor and improve the situation in the field, and supply chain managers and mill technicians to have control over aggregate farm data and compare key farm parameters and business indicators.
The platform also enables full control over sustainability by monitoring four environmental parameters (carbon footprint, water footprint, eutrophication and acidification) calculated on the base of the agronomic activities carried out by farmers, which can be visualized directly from the Barilla Farming app. Also, thanks to IoT sensors installed in the fields and the use of satellites to monitor the plots, advice is provided to farmers to reduce the use of water, fertilizers and plant protection products. This enables improved decision-making processes at both the supply chain and individual farm level, focusing on the sustainability of the entire production.
Direct involvement of all the supply chain actors, first and foremost farmers, is planned for the full implementation of the project. They will follow a specific training course held by xFarm to introduce Barilla Farming and all its functions, and make sure that this tool is understood and used to the fullest.
“Technology has enabled us to innovate and speed up the response to some of Barilla’s necessities based on the needs of farmers and supply chain operators. Our solutions are based on the will to effectively help those who work daily in the field thanks to digital tools, thus promoting efficient and environment-friendly agriculture. The goal is to get this project on a large scale and extend it to other supply chains willing to promote sustainability, digitalization and traceability”- explains xFarm CEO, Matteo Vanotti.
“The sustainability path taken by the ‘Carta del Mulino’ in 2018 saw an initial part of the project dedicated to Biodiversity; now, after achieving relevant results in this regard, we have chosen to focus on reducing the environmental impact of the supply chain cultivation of soft wheat destined for Mulino Bianco. In doing so, we believe it is essential to use technology, make it available to all the actors in the supply chain, and create an innovative system with highly valuable partners which can concretely help farmers but also collect all the environmental and supply chain impact data to ensure the best possible product for our consumers” – explains Michele Zerbini, Soft Wheat & Flours Purchasing Manager at Barilla.