Farmer’s Choice plans to scale up use of advanced technologies to boost productivity.
The move by the 40-year old company has been informed by their quest to adopt sustainable farming practices, including increasing adoption of cloud solutions to improve food quality and security.
“Customers are our priority, and we owe them excellence. The coordination of all activities in Microsoft cloud solutions gives the company unmatched visibility over the entire lifecycle of meat production, allowing it to respond to supply and demand changes proactively,” said Flora Kinuthia Farmer’s Choice Chief Information Officer.
The company’s tech adoption also includes automation, which runs on Azure and minimises human error.
Previously, pig farmers would weigh their animals and write down the scores manually, which was time consuming and bound to have errors leading to missing weights or incorrect data thus affecting decision-making.
But that will no longer be the case.
“Now we capture data directly from the main scale, without human intervention, in real time and with virtually no errors,” Kinuthia said.
Accurate tracking and record keeping will also benefit the company’s suppliers, who can use the data to meet customer expectations.
“We can move fast through operations, updating the system in real time. We give our salespeople mobile devices so they can take orders and communicate to customers what products are available. This will lead to happier customers,” said Annie Mugumo, Management Accountant at Farmer’s Choice.
From a financial perspective, the cloud-based infrastructure generates significant savings. “There have been some running costs in our IT department, like server maintenance or storage. These are now things of the past,” she said.
Jude Mark from Microsoft said: “Digitally transforming the agriculture space has always been a key priority for our organisation. With Microsoft cloud solutions, Farmer’s Choice can remain focused on sustainability and efficiency as it looks toward the future.”
According to World Bank estimates, food production and processing in Africa generates more than $300 billion (Sh30 trillion) annually.
With the continent at large embracing digital platforms, this figure will rise to $1 trillion (Sh100 trillion) a year by 2030 if farmers get the right access to inputs and resources.
According to Eric Muga, Senior Database Administrator at Farmer’s Choice, the cloud-based solutions will help streamline information flow between all departments, making vital data accessible to all users, starting from the initial data capture on the farms.
“We have IoT (internet of things) where everybody in the value chain capture data to use with Dynamics 365 Business Central. The procurement management needs to see what is happening on the farms, and the farm management system is captures it all. So, everybody connects to a central location to upload the captured data and work with it,” said Muga.