The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has plans to launch a  $2-5 million Traceability Center for Agro-Industrial Exports (TRACE) in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin reported Friday.

As the Bulletin put it, “the Philippines is eyed to become a food safety hub in South East Asia.”

The program, known as P Trace, will be the South East Asian counterpart to E Trace, an earlier project by UNIDO in Egypt, which has become the food safety center in the African-Mediterranean area, according to the Bulletin.

“There’s a growing interest in food traceability, and this has an impact on all exporters of food products from the Philippines to Europe. If you don’t have a traceability system, you can’t export to Europe,” said Gerardo Patacconi, Quantity  Standards and Conformity head of UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Branch, in an interview at a P Trace forum.

The traceability center will enable Filipino exporters of food products to do more business with countries like the United States and Japan, as well as European nations.

“The idea is to establish food safety competency in each crop. Each crop will have its own system to manage the supply chain,” Patacconi told the Bulletin.

The project is expected to be completed within three years and is set to begin in June 2010.

Recent Food Safety News coverage of traceability:

Thailand Launches Food Traceability Initiative March 30, 2010

Survey Indicates Progress on Traceability March 27, 2010

Safety, Traceability Addressed at Walnut Day March 20, 2010