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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

About farmer profiling through FARMIS Kenya

By Martin Murangiri
Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya) is a farm management and diagnostic tool based on the use of farm records aimed at identifying productivity trends, profitability of different farm enterprises and producing evidence for use in decision making at the farm, County and National levels.
The process of profiling farmers through FARMIS-Kenya begins with taking a primary profile of the farmer including: name, age range, gender, size of land, location of the land - including GPS coordinates - and whether the land is owned or leased.
A Production Information Agent (PIA) then takes a photograph of the farmer and posts the profile to a central server located at Sokopepe headquarters in Nairobi. The information is also available online thus enabling real time updates.
Farmers in Meru being trained about FARMIS-Kenya
The primary profile enables the farmer to begin the process of digitizing his records. Those who have been profiled receive a certificate and they can visit their profiles online at the FARMIS Kenya website.
Thereafter, the farmer acquires a Farm Book and starts keeping a record of all production activities he or she undertakes on the farm including the cost of inputs such as seeds and fertilizer and the cost of labour associated with each stage of crop production namely tilling, tending the crop, harvesting and post-harvest costs.
As the farmer inputs the data into the Farm Book, the PIA visits the farmer periodically to capture the same data on a smart phone and upload it to the central server. This data can then be availed to different agencies that work with farmers such as banks, input providers and agriculture officials. It becomes much easier for banks to determine the credit worthiness of farmers who are in FARMIS-Kenya.
There are numerous advantages of joining FARMIS Kenya. At the end of each season, the farmer is able to tell with accuracy whether or not he has made a profit from a certain crop. Should he/she realize that he has made a loss, he can make an informed decision to grow a different crop the next season.
With a complete record of his farming enterprise, the burden of proof of creditworthiness is greatly reduced because the bank can access his records at the touch of a button.
FARMIS Kenya can also enable a farmers to: Generate on-demand customized reports on the status of their enterprises, produce seasonal profit and loss statements, project the income potential of their farming enterprises, access input and other service providers, develop a farm activity calendar and link with peer farmers for aggregating produce to sell in bulk.

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