TRACE RICE offers an innovative solution to fraud and safety challenges focusing on natural, healthy and tasteful rice-based foods by applying new technologies for product authenticity and traceability. Brings together public and private stakeholders across 3 Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Spain, Egypt) with an integrated full chain approach (from farm to fork), for raw rice and ready-to-eat rice, which will enhance the competitiveness of SMEs operating in the rice sector. The work plan will facilitate adoption of cost-efficient and environmentally safe tools and technologies and promote innovative business models, improving quality, sustainability and opening new markets, with a focus on authenticity for rice produced in the Mediterranean. The project will also target upscaling and replication of successful case studies in two different rural territories, taking account of their diversity. Liaison with standardization bodies will allow a large dissemination of validation data obtained by their inclusion in harmonized protocols. The dissemination and adoption of techniques along the rice Mediterranean value chain will be achieved via a communication plan for the 3 countries involved and further linking to the European Federation of the sector for a wider dissemination. TRACE-RICE will identify business models with high potential for empowering rural communities to take advantage of the opportunities arising from improved rice value chain optimization and new markets. It will directly support the creation of sustainable jobs and growth and in the long-term strengthen rural economic diversification, supporting Regional and Rural Development policy.
TRACE-RICE targets to achieve a multidisciplinary critical mass to address fraud and safety pressing challenges to the Mediterranean rice sector by enabling the transfer of competences, technologies and organizational innovation among the partners. TRACE-RICE goals includes the adoption of cost-efficient and environmentally safe tools for traceability, authenticity, contaminant mitigation and conversion of by-products to innovative rice base food produced in the Mediterranean.
TRACE-RICE main objectives are focused on providing the Mediterranean rice industry with: i) highly-efficient and affordable analytical and digital technologies that will facilitate fast traceability and authenticity control of rice varieties; ii) new nutritional and healthy tasty rice-based foods and high added-value products based on an interdisciplinary integrated chain-wide and circular economy approach. The 7 specific objectives are: 1) Authenticity: Mapping European rice varieties with DNA-based authenticity analytical tools; 2) Characterize rice composition: Correlate rice compositional characteristics with quality (nutritional and health promoting) and sensory attributes; 3) Contaminant mitigation: Test innovative solutions for contaminant mitigation and for product traceability; 4) Develop high-value products: Develop the capabilities of project partners to convert by-products and waste into innovative and valuable natural ingredients; 5) Develop predictive models: Build predictive generation models for unstructured data; 6) Blockchain promotion: Identify business models by promoting blockchain technology and replication of successful case studies; 7) Communicate: Disseminate and communicate outcomes and enhance opportunities for international cooperation and future replication. Also, co-creation and cooperation activities with consumers will be enhanced that will allow them access, manage and follow recommendations, regarding rice food products.
Expected impacts Environmental impacts: • Support contaminant mitigation by promoting the reduction of the use of chemicals. • Reduce fossil fuels consumption by using blockchain technologies. • Support the goals of the EU biodiversity strategy by the valorization and genetic characterisation of adapted varieties and integration of datasets in a network database. Social impacts: • Improve the quality of life of consumers by improving the rice quality control and offering healthier and safer products by upholding quality standards. • Obtain new high added value products and contribute to food diversity, promoting Mediterranean cultural heritage and boosting the circular economy. • lncrease the confidence and producer-consumer engagement in Mediterranean foods, ensuring traceability and origin of rice varieties and reducing fraud and contamination. Economic impacts: • Foster importance to the Mediterranean rice commercialization in international markets by the mitigation of rice fraud by the development of rice authenticity tools (DNA-based and predictive models using machine learning strategies). • Adopt measures to reduce the extreme volatility of prices of rice based foods in the market and facilitate timely access to information thanks to blockchain technologies. • lntroduce new business model for a technologically stagnant sector. • Improve the competiveness of local producers and SMEs by fostering interaction between scientific and entrepreneurial stakeholders.
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