KENYA – Leading Kenyan meat processor Farmer’s Choice Ltd has partnered with Microsoft to digitize it operations and adopt more sustainable farming practices within its existing agriculture ecosystem to enhance productivity, ensure food safety and quality, and reduce waste.
The move by the 40-year-old company which includes the adoption of cloud solutions offered by the giant tech, gives Farmer’s Choice unmatched visibility over the entire life cycle of meat production, allowing it to respond to supply and demand changes proactively.
“We need to ensure we stay efficient in terms of pricing, wastage, and the use of products in the factory. Therefore, food traceability is especially important to us.”Flora Kinuthia – CIO of Farmer’s Choice
In addition, it helps to streamline the information flow between all departments, making vital data accessible to all users, starting from the initial data capture on the farms.
“We have IoT (internet of things) readers that capture data to use with Dynamics 365 Business Central. The procurement management needs to see what is happening on the farms. And the farm management system is completely outside of where we are seated.
“So, everybody connects to a central location to upload the captured data and work with it,” explains Eric Muga, the Senior Database Administrator at Farmer’s Choice.
The company’s tech stack also includes automation, which runs on Azure and minimizes human error.
Previously, a person would weigh animals and write down the scores manually. This could lead to missing weights or incorrect data that jeopardized decision-making.
“Now, we capture data directly from the main scale, without human intervention, in real time and with virtually no errors,” Eric further states.
Accurate tracking and recordkeeping also benefit the company’s suppliers, who can keep pace with fluctuating inventory levels to match customer expectations.
“We can move fast through operations, updating the system in real time. We give our salespeople mobile devices so they can take orders and communicate to customers what products are available on the floor,” says Annie Mugumo, Management Accountant at Farmer’s Choice. “This leads to happier customers.”
The investment by the meat company is in quest to improve food quality and security.
“Customers are our priority, and we owe them quality excellence. We need to ensure we stay efficient in terms of pricing, wastage, and the use of products in the factory. Therefore, food traceability is especially important to us,” says Flora Kinuthia, CIO of Farmer’s Choice.
According to World Bank estimates, food production and processing in Africa currently generates over US$300 billion annually.
With the continent at large embracing digitally transforming, this figure is only set to rise to US$1 trillion a year by 2030 if farmers are given the right access to inputs and resources.
“Digitally transforming the agriculture space has always been a key priority for our organisation. With Microsoft cloud solutions, Farmer’s Choice can remain focused on sustainability and efficiency as it looks toward the future,” Judemark from Microsoft concluded.
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