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Jaswinder Kaur, farmNXT:

More growers to use management software

Getting more yield out of your existing land or greenhouse. That is the aim of many growers all over the world at the moment. "So, instead of investing in new land, more and more growers are looking for other solutions that offer complete visibility of their farming operations. And this offers opportunities in terms of software that provides real time information so growers can make data-driven decisions", says Jaswinder Kaur, Advisor at farmNXT, a cloud based platform that provides agriculture management software.
According to Kaur, Kenya and Latin America are good examples where the benefits of adopting technology software solutions is evident. "Over the years, we have seen a shift towards using more all over the world. Almost every grower is currently working with spreadsheets. However, while these spreadsheets give information in a particular aspect of the greenhouse or a production unit, they do not offer insights in a consumable format that are based on this historical data."
The most requested software features worldwide are business analytic (production/analysis of varieties), pest disease scouting, yield production & planning, and traceability. This latter feature is of high importance for the growers in the Latin American countries and more requested by Kenyan growers. "The majority of the Latin American flower farmers supply the North American market. For this market, it is important to know where the product comes from, where it has been and for how long. And it enables the growers to retrieve certain sustainable certificates such as Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), Good Handling Practices (GHP). These certifications enhance the brand value and customer acceptability to a large extent. Also for growers in Kenya, where the use of software is still at an early stage, the importance of these features is emerging. However, farmNXT offers more than these features mentioned above. And this, according to Kaur, is an advantage for growers as the current farming software market is highly fragmented and does not aggregate all data related to factors such as weather, soil conditions, irrigation, farming processes, and so forth.

Shashi Kiran of FarmNXT, at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya. According to Kaur, this market is in terms of using software still in its infancy and therefore a potential market.

Established by farmers
FarmNXT was founded about 5 years ago by flower growers in India and is recently incorporated in Canada; the company headquarters and R&D is now in Ottawa, Canada. The worldwide support is provided from India.
"The genesis of the company was that the flower growers themselves were looking for a solution flexible enough to manage their own enterprise operations. Given that the founders also had a background in software, they were able to develop an easy to use, modular farm management software. Since the early days, farmNXT has become a multi-platform, multi-device cloud based application that offers a holistic view of the floriculture operations”, says Kaur. Currently, farmNXT is active in several countries and offers solutions for open field cultivation, cooperative farming, greenhouse management (which includes hydroponics and floriculture) enabling farmers to leverage data to deliver crop and field improvements across their operations.
What does it do?
According to Kaur, the aim of farmNXT is to enable growers to plan, track, analyze and optimize their farming. "The software makes predictive and corrective suggestions based on historical data available", she says. And as many farmers look for zero costs, they only need to pay for the features they use. "Customers can subscribe to farmNXT on a SaaS basis. There is a monthly fee based on the land size (per acre) or users and mode of cultivation (open vs. greenhouse). Customers will pay a set-up onboarding fee, recurring monthly fees and any additional fee if integration to third party software is required", says Kaur.

FarmNXT employees talking with a Kenyan grower at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to Kaur, many growers are already using programs or already have, for example, a financial package, which makes it often more difficult to use or integrate with another software. For this reason, farmNXT's also offers software configurable to other common business software (accounting or sales) that already exist. The software is available on computers that are connected to the internet and off-the-shelf mobile devices.
Every farming enterprise has its own practices and ways of doing things. farmNXT has the ability to customize the solution to exactly meet the requirements of each farming enterprise.

For more information
Jaswinder Kaur
Email: [email protected]