News and knowhow for farmers

Crop app tells contractors expected yields, market size to cut losses


Agripreneurs contacting farmers to produce given crops can approximate the amount of yields expected so as to look for sufficient market ahead of harvesting.

The farmforce app from Syngenta, an international agribusiness firm, can work both online and offline to collect data and give the required information to large scale managers or contractors working with a group of farmers.

farmforce Project Manager Faith Kamenchu said knowing the output in advance allows for proper planning on sales, therefore, reduces post harvest losses.

“The app requires at least 50 acres. Contracted farmers can amalgamate their small pieces and feed the information into the system to allow for central management. When the accurate data are fed into the system, the contractor can tell in about two weeks the size of the market they need to look for,” Kamenchu said.

When one expects 100 tonnes of tomatoes twice every week, they can plan on transportation to the already identified market in good time.

Most farm input companies give approximate yields for given products by pegging the result on proper management practices.  Through the app, workers or contacted farmers only used specified inputs that will give the anticipated results.

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Town-based managers can monitor the growth stages of the crops besides tracking workers with the help of the GPRS locator.

Only system authorised inputs can be used in the farms under farmforce. The manager selects the desired seeds, chemicals, fertilisers, among other inputs and instructs the app to programme their use, she said.

The smartphone controlled app reminds farmers when to carry out given routine practices such as top dressing, pesticide application, and irrigation, and the specific chemicals and measurements where appropriate.

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Workers cannot use cheap or alternative inputs other than those fed and approved by the system without the approval of the manager.

Information for the app can be collected offline and be fed into the system when the Internet is available. For instance, the photos of the crops can be uploaded later.  Photos help the app to update the farmer on the growth stages.

Contacted farmers can also access loans based on the expected results.

“Saccos and cooperatives can give contracted farmers soft loans to help them meet expenses. The loans are pegged on the expected results,” she said.

 The cost of installation depends on the crops under management. Installing the app for 20 users can cost the contractor about Sh300,000. 

PHOTO: farmforce Project Manager Faith Kamenchu stands beside Syngenta’s post at Mkoma Show Ground on September 2, 2016. farmforce helps agripreneurs manage farms via smartphones. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT. 

Kamenchu can be reached on +254722933916


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