LAVA is getting ready for the future

This spring LAVA will launch a pilot project for its new multifunctional digital platform. As the first step in this digitisation process, LAVA wants to provide growers with a handy tool that helps them perform their everyday tasks. A ‘digital assistant’ in the field that combines
existing and new services.
This pilot project will serve as the basis for a high-quality and future-oriented IT platform that will be further expanded with new intelligent functions to help growers. At a later stage, LAVA will build a ‘digital ecosystem’ around growers and their producer organisations.

Digitisation is having a major impact on our lives. And all around us, in agriculture and horticulture, we are seeing all types of digitisation initiatives involving both the production and the consumption of vegetables and fruit. As the umbrella organisation of vegetable and fruit producer organisations in Belgium, LAVA is now up to speed as far as digitisation is concerned. In partnership with BelOrta, Cooperative Hoogstraten CV and REO Auction, LAVA is setting up a high-quality and future-oriented IT project: the Digital Experience Platform.

Efficient for the producer
As the first step in this digitisation process, LAVA wants to provide growers with a handy tool that helps them perform their everyday tasks: a ‘digital assistant’ in the field that combines existing and new services. An analysis of the ‘from cultivation till supply’ preparatory phase identified 98 functions. All of these functions are concrete solutions that help the producer and the producer organisations.

High-quality data: a fertile soil to grow the platform
This spring LAVA will launch the pilot project for its multifunctional digital platform. With a strong basis and future-proof technology, this pilot project will support growers during the vegetable and fruit cultivation process. In the first phase, the first 6 of the 98 functions will be included in the pilot project:

  1. Plot management: registering and classifying plots.
  2. Seed/plant registration: managing crops on these plots.
  3. Treatment registration: registering pesticides.
  4. Residue analysis: registering digital sample applications, supplying information about the sampling moment and providing feedback on the result.
  5. Knowledge exchange about treatments: gathering information about possible crop protection products and sharing that information with other growers.
  6. Current prices: being actively informed about prices and the result you have realised as a grower.

The main objective is to help growers manage their proprietary information and give them a 360°
overview of their crops. We are developing a multifunctional platform – both mobile and web-based – on which growers can also easily communicate with each other using a chat function, and receive active updates on pricing and production.

Following the pilot project, new functions will be developed and added to the digital platform. In the longer term, LAVA wants to develop a digital ecosystem in which third parties in the plant sector can also link up with the platform. That way, growers can receive assistance in the shape of advice from spokespersons (via chat), place online orders with suppliers, connect to external specifications, etc. The platform will also enable future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots to be

Benefit for the customer
The management of comprehensive, high-quality information will help achieve even better quality and make the marketing of our fresh food products even more effective. Using the versatile digital environment, an expert community will be developed with the 2,600 producers – united in the producer organisations that are part of LAVA – so that we can jointly respond even more efficiently to
market demands and face the future with confidence.

For more information on this subject, contact Maarten De Moor, Managing Director of LAVA.

General information about LAVA:

LAVA Stands for ‘Logistieke en Administratieve Veilingassociatie’ (Logistical and Administrative Auction Organisation), which is the umbrella organisation or cooperative for vegetable and fruit producer organisations in Belgium. These producer organisations all use the Flandria label, which is a guarantee that products are of the highest quality and have been sustainably cultivated by family businesses. Since 1999 the Belgian vegetable auctions have been working together as part of the LAVA umbrella

As an umbrella organisation of the 5 main vegetable and fruit producer organisations in Belgium, LAVA
is active in 5 different domains. LAVA collaborates with the PO’s on the following areas:
- commercialisation (sale) of Belgian vegetables and fruit,
- quality control and management of the specifications,
- coordination of scientific research,
- marketing of the ‘Flandria’ label
- IT. LAVA also recently became active in the field of IT, with a digital platform for producers.
LAVA is based on the ambition to guarantee all buyers fair access to the product.

In the vegetable and fruit sector, there is a particularly high demand for large product consignments of
the same quality and size. In response to this demand, the Belgian auctions introduced simultaneous
auctions a number of years ago. All PO’s are currently working with this system. It enables products to
be purchased both in the auction room and with the home purchasing system.

Recent figures (for 2019):
Supply of fruit and vegetables among LAVA members:
• Vegetables: 877 000 tons
• Hard fruit: 356 000 tons
• Soft fruit: 63 000 tons
Total turnover of the LAVA members: €983 MM.

More information on www.lava.be