FARMIS is an innovation aimed at getting small scale farmers to adopt comprehensive record-keeping for their farming enterprises. This gives them bargaining power to engage with and access services from financial institutions, input providers and sources of technical information, boosting production, increasing income and nutrition options. Each farmer pays an annual subscription of US$5 for the service. In return FARMIS agricultural Product information agents (PIAs) periodically visit them to train on record keeping and offer extension services. Other future income streams include advertising; data vending and data analytics. To illustrate, over the next two years, FARMIS targets to serve 25,000 farmers and hence generate a projected income of US$125,000 from farmers’ subscriptions. An additional US$37,500 will be generated from the other income streams totaling US$162,500.
Small scale farmers do not keep comprehensive records of their farming enterprises thus cannot show viability of their farming enterprises, their potential/ credit worthiness is understated and they are not able to influence or control the “missing middle” in agricultural value chains. FARMIS seeks to address a related challenge based on the lack of reliable data; to drive decision-making and inform households, governments and private institutions on the most appropriate interventions that would be necessary to improve crop production of the rural small-scale farmer as well as develop the most appropriate solutions to meet the peripheral challenges that hamper food production.
So far 7,235 farmers in Meru County are keeping records of their farm enterprises using the Farm Book. Some of them are already changing the type of enterprise in their farms through informed decision.
FARMIS combines both analogue and digital platforms to capture and manage records that include farm book, Production Information Agents (PIAs), online portal and mobile phones. The FARMIS solution is built around a farmer driven data collection and collation system. Through a network of Production Information Agents (PIAs), farmers complete farm book that captures data throughout the production period of the season, and then enters the data into a centralized digital database. Mobile phones are used to capture primary data that includes farmers’ profiles which are uploaded to the online portal.