Managing farm operations in the Covid19 situation

If you don’t adapt, you don’t endure.

We all are struck with the sudden change in the business environment. Like always, there are going to be winners and losers of this new opportunity which is disguised as a challenge. Those with the digital artillery already in place look favorable champions to adapt the new way to running your business. But, there’s more that can still be done.

Not going digital was not an option and in agriculture for farmers, managing farm without going digital wasn’t an option as the delay in adapting would mean, wait another season/year. Most of the farming community have now slowly woken up to the challenge and understand the importance of this shift. Use of farm applications surged and the e-commerce sales of agri-inputs which until a few months ago seemed years away took rampant pace.

So far farmers seem to have taken up digitalization of farms quicker than expected. Especially, with a plethora of options available at farmers’ hand via the internet it is no surprise. However, it is the agribusiness who’ve relatively struggled more to keep with the new mode of business.

How agribusinesses changed their approach to manage farmers remotely

Many of the agribusinesses have picked up on the trends of other businesses for managing their farm operations remotely through virtual platforms.

Group Messaging platforms such as Whatsapp and Telegram for making farmer-groups can set-up a two-way communication but can also be time consuming.

Voice Calls could possibly be one of the most annoying measures to reach farmers. Given the number of companies in the industry, could you imagine the number of calls a farmer would have to receive?

Webinars and Virtual Events are seemingly appropriate measures to reach the masses but given the lack of one-to-one interaction capability and internet connectivity hampering streaming quality are big stumbling blocks.

Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have always been a way to promote the products and services but the traffic doesn’t always match with the intent and action.

Change the Game – Manage your farmers better

I’m sure you’re familiar with movie scenes from the hacker genre where numerous monitor screens are displayed for the character to grasp information as it flies.

What agribusinesses today are doing to farmers is essentially the same.

Except, of course, most of which is being registered in farmers’ minds for sure.

Receiving hundreds of messages, calls and invites for conferences every day the farmers are bombarded with people trying to connect with them. Even with all measures applied there is no guarantee that farmers will fall through.

Besides, it is difficult in most cases to measure which of these actually resulted in the sale or business growth or even creating awareness for that matter.

So how can agribusinesses do better? What does going digital truly mean? Well, agribusinesses should take a holistic perspective in it’s farmer management techniques.

The most prominent element in taking a holistic approach is to adopt a suitable farm management software. Depending upon the business objectives what should a farm management software do for them will vary. But on a broad-level, it should contribute to below business objectives.

1. Real-time farm data for decision making:

Farmers’ data which was gathered from field staff previously now must go digital. With software farmers could now participate in the farm digitization process with a farm app. With the help of this data agricultural businesses can make decisions on numerous aspects for the rest of the season. This is a strong capability that businesses took a long lead time on before the advent of farm management software.

2. Better two-way communication:

The current communication channels are cluttered with competition. Chances of your message being lost in tons of notifications are higher than ever. Farm management software helps you streamline your communication by creating a one-to-one interaction channel. Be it a chat-bot, a farmer app or even digital dedicated resource; ensure that each farmer is being catered by a point of contact employed for many.

3. Efficient operations management:

Order management, supply chain management and inventory management are the three major areas where profitability is driven by efficient cash-flow management. Ability to take data-driven decisions can help you do more with less making your business highly efficient on all fronts.

Conclusion

Having a farm app along with a web interface goes a long way in managing the operations even better. The efficiency of a farm management software is realized when each user, say farm manager or farmer, is actively engaging with the software.

For those agribusinesses who take up this opportunity and initiate implementing steps towards complete digitalization could achieve a lot more comparatively in the years to come.

When the dust settles and a new consumer pattern in agriculture has emerged, it will be interesting to see who comes out victorious.

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