Sokopepe Blogs

Farmer profiling

By Bob Aston

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM

 By Martin Murangiri
The process of profiling farmers begins with taking a primary profile of the farmer including: name, age range, gender, size of land, location of the land – including GPS coordinates – and whether the land is owned or leased. The Production Information Agents(PIA) then takes a photograph of the farmer and posts the profile to a central server located at Arid Lands Information Networks (ALIN) headquarters in Nairobi. The information is also available online, enabling real time updates.
Training Farmers on the use of FARMIS at Kanyakine Kiringa last week .
The primary profile enables the farmer to begin the process of digitizing his records. Those who have been profiled receive a certificate and they can visit their profiles online at,. Thereafter, the farmer acquires a Farm Book and starts keeping a record of all production activities he undertakes on the farm  including the cost of inputs such as seeds and fertilizer and the cost of labour associated with each stage of crop production namely tilling, tending the crop, harvesting and post-harvest costs.
As the farmer inputs the data into the Farm Book, the PIA visits the farmer periodically to capture the same data on a smart phone and upload it to the central server. This data can then be availed to different agencies that work with farmers such as banks, input providers and agriculture officials. It becomes much  easier for banks to determine the credit worthiness of farmers who get into FARMIS.
There are numerous advantages from getting onto FARMIS. At the end of each season, the farmer is able to tell with accuracy whether or not he has made a profit from a certain crop. Should he realize that he lost money, he can make an informed decision to grow a different crop the next season. With a complete record of his farming enterprise, the burden of proof of creditworthiness is greatly reduced because the bank can access his records at the touch of a button.
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