Development of an information system for the traceability of citrus-plant nursery chain related to the Italian National Service for Voluntary Certification
Keywords:certification, citrus plant nursery chain, GIS, information system, plant pest risk management, relational model, traceability
Abstract: At present, the production of certified plants in Italy, which is obtained by using propagating materials verified in terms of varietal trueness-to-type and phytosanitary condition, is guaranteed by the National Service for Voluntary Certification. The monitoring of productions and activities that are carried out in the centres established by the National Service for Voluntary Certification is crucial for the identification of both possible sources of disease risk and the destination of the propagating materials. In previous studies a methodology was proposed and applied to carry out the requirements analysis and specification for the development of an integrated computer-based information system for certified citrus-plant traceability. This study proposes a methodology for the implementation of the information system suitable to execute the previously designed functionalities. The use of PostgreSQL, a free and open-source object-relational database management system, allowed the implementation of the entity-relation scheme that included the information related to the managed propagating materials and the process activities defined by the certification program. System functionalities were implemented in applications developed on the basis of the client-server paradigm. The proposed methodology was applied to the case study of the Italian citrus-plant nursery chain. Specific information derived from plants and centres of the National Service for Voluntary Certification were included in the database along with the geolocation of both certified citrus plants produced in the nurseries and planted in the field and citrus mother plants. Geographic data acquired by using a GPS system were combined with other information concerning plant health condition and treatments with the aim to find out possible relations between the citrus-plant health status and the territory. The system implemented in this study allows the definition and utilisation of ‘track and trace’ procedures of propagation materials and plants that are in the certified Italian citrus-plant nursery chain, as well as the evaluation and prevention of the diffusion of the Citrus Tristeza Virus which causes one of the most damaging diseases in citrus orchards.
Keywords: citrus, certification, traceability, nursery chain, GIS, information system, plant diseases