An electronic certification system built by MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) will reduce the cost of previously paper-based export health certificates and protect New Zealand meat products from brand passing-off by other countries.
It's one of the biggest database deals done in recent times, and the first sale in New Zealand for Informix of its Foundation 2000 object-oriented engine.
The project is known as E-cert. MAF has created a Web site to handle the mandatory certification requirements for the meat industry.
MAF corporate manager information Brent Fry explains that it provides certificates for New Zealand and other countries' health requirements through the end-to-end process, from slaughter of a beast, through cutting, packing, cool-store holding and delivery.
"The meat industry may save money by marrying this with inventory control and it will also get better quality information," he says.
Other drivers for the project include elimination of certificate duplication overseas and protection of the New Zealand brand.
"If it's not on our site, it's not a genuine New Zealand product," he says. There is non-New Zealand product being sold around the world as if it were from New Zealand, which is potentially damaging to the primary produce industry if there are health problems, and obviously at a competitive level.
MAF has bought a 250-user licence from Informix, but that's likely to grow. MAF is also developing a similar system for the seafood and the dairy industries. Live-animal export and horticulture export databases will follow.
E-cert for the meat industry will go live on April 3, and the seafood and dairy industry databases on July 1. Fry says by the end of the year, MAF expects to be handling a million certificates on an annual basis.
Each of the industries is funding their part of the system.
Informix managing director James Rae says it's one of the biggest database deals done in new Zealand in the past 12 months.
"The demand for Internet-centric engines has grown dramatically.
"With Foundation 2000, we take the code to the data, rather than the data to the code. That means big savings on the CPU and memory and you get huge increases in performance."
He says Foundation 2000 is the only database that runs Java and Com inside the engine.