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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Farmers urged to join FARMIS Kenya

By Bob Aston 

Poor record keeping has been cited as one of the major challenges many farmers in Kenya face in management of their farms, as many of them are unaware about the importance and value of record and information management.
Sam Mwangi addressing farmers
Speaking during a joint meeting between members of the Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) on March 25,2014, Sam Mwangi, ALIN Team Leader for Community Empowerment informed farmers that this challenge is set to be addressed. This will be done through the introduction of Farm Record Management Information System – Kenya (FARMIS Kenya) which is set to be rolled out today. FARMIS Kenya is run by Sokopepe Ltd, a social enterprise under license from Fit Uganda.

FARMIS Kenya enables farmers to capture a farm’s profile and record all their farming enterprises capturing costs of tilling, inputs, labour, harvesting and post-harvest operations for crops and similar records for livestock. By doing that a farm’s total productivity is documented and farmers are able to extract a profit and loss statement at the end of each season.
Mwangi urged farmers to join FARMIS Kenya as they will be able to enjoy various benefits such as: improved automated record keeping; current market information; enhanced access to credit facilities; evidence-based decision making; access to 24 hour online platform; opportunity for group produce marketing; seasonal farm books provided for reference; market linkages to buyers and sellers and access to relevant farming tips.
“Proper record keeping is important as it will help you to know whether you are making a profit or loss. When you keep your records well it will be easier to monitor your farming activities, determine which business line in your farm is breaking even and which ones are eating into your profit margins,” said Mwangi.
FARMIS seeks to be the leading provider of ICT business solutions for farmers in East Africa by transforming the way farmers carry out record keeping.
ALIN Deputy Director Anthony Mugo addressing farmers
It will enable all involved to capture records and truly practice farming as a business. It is after a farmer has his farm records, uses them for decision making and obtains the various reports that the enterprise can be deemed to be profitable and self-sustaining. The business as usual model currently in practice means that many farmers only have a vague sense of the direction their farms are taking, and as such their agricultural enterprise is deemed to be risky and ‘unbankable’.
Mwangi added that FARMIS will allow farmers to synergistically coordinate a number of related activities at the farm, supported by data analysis, storage, and retrieval for possible linkages to partners or stakeholders.
Registered farmers will purchase a Farm Book at Kshs. 850 per year for better records keeping and management. The system will also generate interactive reports like ledger reports, profit and loss accounts and balance sheet.
“Every year a farmer will be able to receive a progress report on his farming activities. Formalizing your farm records will help you as a farmer to improve your economic gains and increase profits,” said Mwangi. He added: “Effective record keeping and information management is key to the running of a successful agri-business. Good record keeping can help a farmer to track his expenses and determine the ‘financial sinks’ in the farm.”
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