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Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS)

Revolutionary technology solution for collecting and applying farmgate level data

Until now, accessing detailed information about farms has been a struggle with our vast network of smallholders living in remote areas. Previously, our field staff have had to painstakingly collect information using pen and paper, a highly laborious process, significantly limiting use and scalability. The Olam Farmer Information System (“OFIS”) solves this issue by providing a revolutionary tech innovation for collecting and analysing smallholder farm data. So far over 100,000 farmers in 21 countries have been registered in the system, aiming for 500,000 by 2020.

Smallholders across Asia, Africa and South America support their families by growing and selling crops like cocoa, coffee, and rubber. But many of them are living at subsistence levels, with limited education, access to banking and quality seedlings. While sustainability programmes from agri-companies like Olam and our international customers have provided vital group training and other support to improve yields and incomes (over 300,000 farmers under the Olam Livelihood Charter), these smallholders have not had truly personalised support.

Strategic advantages

  1. Collect
    First mile data is collected and centralised via a purpose built Android OS application designed to operate in the remotest corners of the world.
  2. Analyse
    Data can be visualised, tracked and highlighted through an online application that offers unparalleled analysis opportunities.
  3. Apply
    OFIS can be used to guide ongoing sustainability initiatives, to build farmer group and buying agent capacity, and through the innovative Farm Development Plan module, deliver targeted information to farmers.

OFIS at work

Data collection

  • Collect targeted, farmgate level data through a flexible, comprehensive survey tool that allows users to develop personalised questionnaires and collection schedules.
  • Record GPS data points directly on the ground for farms and social infrastructure.
  • Upload farmer training data including modules, attendance, and results. Data captured can also include photos and GPS/time stamps.
  • Manage all “first mile” transactions include crop purchases, input distribution and financing.
  • Data is uploaded into Olam’s cloud server through a multi-language, Android OS application.

Data analysis

  • Utilise OFIS online graphing toolkit to rapidly display information in numerous chart and table formats.
  • Filter and compare multiple datasets in user friendly, easy to view, side-by-side visuals.
  • Create GPS maps of farms and social infrastructure, including distances to and from key points of interest.
  • View individual farmer profiles including training and transaction history.
  • Generate risk ‘hotspots’ to create action plans.
  • Visualise key statistical data through personalised dashboards and tables.

Programme management

  • Keep track of field training implementation versus any predetermined training targets.
  • Manage survey campaigns by understanding real time progress.
  • Agri-input distribution programmes can be managed through real time transaction records and statement screen functionality.
  • Communicate directly with field staff through app notifications and delivery/completion reports.
  • SMS functionality allows users to directly contact farmers with information such pricing, weather and agri-tips.

Capacity building

  • OFIS has full Internal Management System (IMS) capability allowing farmer groups and cooperatives to fully manage their organisations.
  • Buying agents can also use OFIS to manage their businesses by keeping track of stock, finances and counterparties.
  • End-to-end traceability can be managed from farm to fork through OFIS’ unique bag coding system.
  • Digital payments can be made directly to farmers giving them the opportunity to access a range of financial services for the first time.

Farm Development Plans

  • The Farm Development Plan module, using data uploaded from farm surveys and transaction records, provides personalised, long-term plans for each farmer.
  • The module seeks to maximise farm productivity by making key recommendations on fertiliser usage, farm rehabilitation, and Good Agricultural Practice support.
  • The recommended interventions are fully costed for each farmer, giving them the opportunity to review, and if necessary revise, the feasibility of the plan.
  • Plan progress can be tracked over time allowing field staff to measure impact and improve support where required.

Supporting business objectives

  • OFIS provides the potential for reduced certification costs, improved bankability and enhanced services for farmers.
  • For the first time, sustainability programme partners and customers can access their supplier base from their office. Linking farmers to end users provides an unparalleled understanding of how raw ingredients are produced from both a product traceability perspective and from a human angle.
  • Directly helps farmers to take a long-term, investment-based approach to their farm management, on a previously impossible scale.
  • Improved visibility enables end users to maximise and more accurately target resources and to understand how those resources have delivered farm-level impact.

For more information, please contact ofis@olamnet.com.