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Africa: Farmsoft Technology for todays farming and processing industry

Rapid developments in information technology have exposed African farmers to the potential benefits of using ICT technologies in farm decision-making. The use of computers on African commercial farms is increasing rapidly as wider internet connection is reaching most of the remote areas including cellular coverage.

Spreadsheets and financial management software are popular amongst commercial farmers, while use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being used more widely in African agriculture. Small-scale farmers in developing areas rely mainly on government and private industry extension services for farm information.

Rapid developments in information technology have created considerable opportunities for farm businesses to adapt their operational and managerial processes to changing market requirements. Information is becoming more accessible and less costly, and markets are becoming more competitive improving the competitiveness of agricultural firms. Small-scale farmers are also increasingly being exposed to new information technologies that can provide relevant information for their farming needs.

Various African studies have shown that commercial farmers rated their own farm records/budgets as the most valuable source of information for making production, marketing and financial decisions. Computers were regarded as very useful for keeping financial and physical (crop, livestock) records, for business planning purposes (preparing budgets) and for payroll preparation, and were also highly rated for providing better (up-to-date, more usable, easy to access) information and for saving time compared to traditional manual records.



Agricultural producers in Africa are increasingly being exposed to the potential of modern information technologies as a management tool. However, despite the real and potential benefits of using information technologies (including improved flows of relevant and up-to-date information for decision making), their capabilities have not been fully exploited. Reasons include the relatively poor infrastructure in some rural areas, the time taken to obtain information from the Internet, the perceived high cost of some modern information technologies in relation to their benefits, and the lack of education in the effective use of information technologies. Modern information systems are expected to play an increasingly important role in future in assisting agricultural producers to become more competitive on local and international markets. Producers may expect high returns to information that is pertinent to their businesses. The challenge for producers, therefore, is how to source relevant information efficiently. “Focused” publications or newsletters, specific user-groups on the Internet, specific planning software and outside advisors dealing with specific business problems are some examples of relevant information sources. Clearly, producers would have to pay for pertinent information and compare this and other (time) costs with the anticipated benefits. For small-scale farmers in Africa, further educational (extension) efforts aimed at providing relevant information are crucial.

Today, technology and internet comes a generation of immediacy, we want information and we want it now! And managing our crop production and processing is no different. With the emergence of technology in farming and processing, we take a look at the opportunities that will come from managing crop production to the customer.

Better support from agronomists and Farmers: By allowing remote monitoring of farming activities (you choose what information to share; your live data is accessible from anywhere, making you truly mobile). External agronomists, farmers, farm consultants, grower associations, and farm co-operatives have ability to access, record and share farming information and easily control farm operations simply over the web and using a computer, tablet, iPad, or even a smart-phone.

Collaboration is Key to this next generation Supply Chain Link: No longer are the various stakeholders working independently of one another. Having software solutions in place, agronomists, contractors, farmers, customers, suppliers and transporters avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and speeding up operational processes.

Managing waste in the Supply chain: Ability to meet customer requirements and consumer demand accurately, efficiently and sustainably is vital. In product demand and supply forecasting, wireless syncing of data and notifications of record changes gives users immediate access in making time-critical decisions avoiding potential excess and shortages in supply.

Reduced Traceability and Compliance Cost: By aligning the entire supply chain from source to shelf, farmers can ensure they adhere to compliance standards and maximise the success rate and security of their harvest. With all data easily accessible from a single, searchable online location, you’ll never need to worry about an audit again. You can sleep easy knowing that your grower records are up-to-date and available at your fingertips.

Technology in the third world is getting better: Huge investment to improve efficiency in communication and sharing of information in the supply chain has resulted in significant advances and wider adoption of Management Software Solution in both farming and processing operations in the third world. New generation of apps, ipads, netbooks, smartphones and tablets is fully supported by Farmsoft Software Solutions.

For more information
Tenacious Systems Kenya
Nehemiah Gitonga
Off Ngong Road, Adams Arcade
P.o Box 8991-00300, Nairobi
m: 254 (0) 721346133
nehemiah.gitonga@tsl-kenya.com
www.farmsoft.com, www.tenacious-systems.com


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