Famer cooperatives, food processors or agricultural commodity traders typically encounter challenges when it comes to digitally tracking and traceability of agro-inputs that are sent to the field: they enter a Black Box, and nobody can be held accountable anymore in case items disappear. Often the Excel sheet or manual paper-based management systems put in place are ineffective in capturing efficiently all the data within the supply chain management system, resulting in companies losing thousands of dollars each year.
“We have got Sage to account to our directors for our financial situation, but we have eProd to account for everything else”, says Michael Maina, Malindi based Production Manager of Equator Kenya Ltd, a company using eProd for contracting thousands of small holder farmers at the coast of Kenya for chili production for the premium export market. The agricultural inputs that arrive at the office can be assigned by the Storekeeper to the Production Manager for dispatching to the field. A farmer who qualifies can receive the inputs from the Field Extension Officers who can convert them into a cash payment or farmer loans. Loans can be deducted automatically from product delivery through check-off system. Receipts of the transactions can be printed on the spot. Each input can be accounted for at all steps which allows agribusinesses to focus on their core activities and continue to build trust relationships with the suppliers.
The advantage of eProd is that the accounting is baked into the software code throughout the platform. Each of the multiple modules assists to account and thus reduce theft, corruption, or inefficiencies because of general mismanagement. Examples are the maker-checker principles for numerous processes dealing with funds, such as farmer payment and sending emails. eProd Solutions offers an affordable agricultural value chain management ICT platform, or ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning tool), for agribusinesses such as agricultural commodity traders, food processors and farmer cooperatives. The system can manage field administration processes, production contracts, field inspections, surveys, collections, traceability, certification/market compliance, field trials, (e-) extension, communication per SMS (including automated localized weather forecasts, agronomic info), yield forecasting, collections, collection routes, farmer delivery payments via mobile devices (e.g. e-wallet) or bank accounts, quality-based payment, incentives, compulsory savings, credit scoring, automated loan repayment, M&E, analytics and reporting, planning, etc.
The software is used in 25+ different value chains, such as grains (rice, maize, sorghum, millet, barley), pulses (common bean, chickpea, mung bean), oil crops (sunflower, sesame), nuts (cashew, macadamia, almonds, pistachio), coffee, cocoa, spices, fresh vegetables, dairy, apiculture etc., in 14 different countries and available in 9 different languages.