Monday, July 18, 2016

Enhancing adoption of record keeping through improved marketing skills

By Bob Aston
Sokopepe Ltd, a social enterprise supporting the agricultural sector in Kenya by offering market information through SOKO+ and farm records management service through Farm Record Management Information System (FARMIS) is holding a two-day training for Production Information Agents (PIA) at Methodist Bio-Intensive Agricultural Training Centre in Meru County on July 18-19, 2016.
The training seeks to equip the PIAs with marketing skills to ensure enhanced adoption of FARMIS by the farmers. In addition, the forum has provided a platform for the PIAs to share experiences, challenges and to lay strategies on how they will surpass the target of profiling 16,290 farmers by the end of March 2017.
The FARMIS Innovation roll out in the nine sub counties in Meru County is being supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Kenya Feed Innovation Engine (KIE)
Ms. Roseline Ngusa,one of the Sokopepe Ltd Director addressing the PIAs
Speaking while opening the training, Ms. Roseline Ngusa, one of the Sokopepe Ltd Directors said that the organization is keen on enabling farmer’s view their farming as a commercial business and helping them make right farming decisions for increased production and profitability.  
She said that KIE commissioned Short term technical assistance (STTA) to support the organization in developing a business model and Marketing and distribution plan thus the reason for holding the PIA training.
Training the PIAs would equip them with information that would help them support smallholder farmers who are the majority in Meru County and rarely keep farm records to develop and nurture a culture of record keeping.
In addition, training them would ensure that they provide extension services to farmers and training them on how to keep accurate primary data as such data can inform many aspects of planning that can empower the farmers to improve their incomes, livelihoods, and enhancing food security.
FARMIS innovation seeks to enable the creation of a complete documentation of the farming enterprise resulting in a comprehensive digital database available in a central server and online. This will enables agriculture stakeholders such as the County and central government, agro-input providers, providers of agriculture credit and development partners to get an accurate perspective of the status of agriculture at any given time.

The PIA’s are instrumental in providing farm record keeping data, demand driven extension services, boosting farmer’s access to information and acting as intermediaries between the innovation and farmers.
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