Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) has rolled out a mobile application to accurately track the sorghum grown by the company’s over 30,000 farmers contracted to grow the Senator Keg raw material.
KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku said the Farmforce app will be used to track out-growers, eliminate paperwork and enable the brewer to receive reports from the field in real time.
“The technology will enable us to scientifically track the sorghum grown by our contracted farmers and ensure that we are only receiving grain from those on our records,” Karuku.
KBL will also be able to keep a record of the farmers’ details including their contacts, location and acreage planted and also monitor the performance of the crop using field maps enabled by the app.
The mobile-based cloud solution has been developed by Syngenta Foundation to help smallholders gain access to formal markets and improve the effectiveness of out-grower schemes.
“We will now be able to track the grain from the times of planting because we will be able to estimate, with a high degree of certainty, the harvest we expect from each farmer,” adds Karuku.
The solution will provide some key advantages including automated data collection and analysis, elimination of paperwork and associated errors, automated reporting for effective management, simplification of government audits and effective communication with farmers.
“It also means that we shall have the capacity to ensure that we are only taking in sorghum from our contracted farmers. In the future we hope to use this system to track crops in transit and make payments as well.”
All the field extension staff officers have been issued with mobile phones with the solution for field data collection.
RELATED ARTICLE: Beer maker contracts 500 Kisumu farmers to grow white sorghum
RELATED ARTICLE: Beer maker launches new high yielding sorghum variety that can withstand harsh weather
RELATED ARTICLE: KBL to distribute grain threshing machines to entice Nyanza farmers into sorghum farming
Globally, digital produce-tracking is becoming a standard business practice for food processing companies and other manufactures who depend on farmers for their raw materials.
In the western region, Kenya Breweries is working with 15,000 farmers from Migori, Homabay, Kisumu, Siaya and Busia, who will supply the Kisumu Brewery valued atKsh.15 billion, with white sorghum for the production of Senator Keg beer.