Reaping the full benefits of business intelligence along agricultural supply chains
Based on the experience which comes with providing BI solutions over many years based on products like OBIEE, SAP BW or BI Cognos, we have implanted BI now also as a core component into our in-house WeTrace system. WeTrace-based traceability and data collection systems along agricultural value chains can now be analysed in state-of-the-art business intelligence software.
A direct connection of Microsoft’s PowerBI application to the WeTrace database allows us to analyse and visualize data in real-time and in a dynamic way showing the various interactions of data. Not only do we look at data through different glasses, but our customers become the champions of their own data, undertaking data analysis in an easy way based on their own ideas and preferences.
Data external to the WeTrace framework can be integrated in a data lake approach, enabling the customer to bring together data from different fields to gain integrated insights. We have recently also built PowerBI Dashboards which analyse crop product availability and fertilizer usage for selected farming communities in Vietnam.
The animation shown here highlights a dashboard showing production of different crops for selected farms.
GCP: Vietnamese coffee sector advances with sustainability monitoring
The system behind this effort has been custom-built with our inhouse WeTrace framework for GCP.
We are proud to support coffee farmers in their respective countries for the sustainable production of good quality coffee.
Production of learning videos for replication of sustainable agriculture intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa
KIAG partnered up with Agriculture and Research Council (ARC) in South Africa to create on-site farming demonstration videos which will help farmers to replicate innovative farming techniques. KIAG’s Project Manager ICT4D, Simon Striegel, travelled to Phuthaditjhaba in the Maluti-a-Phofung municipality in the Free State Province to meet farming communities who demonstrated best practices in mid- and small-scale bean and maize production – from planting to marketing. The videos will be made available on the InnovAfrica Knowledge Platform at http://kp-innovafrica.africabiosciences.org/ shortly.
InnovAfrica Consortium Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi
As the InnovAfrica project has entered the last two years of its implementation, all project partners met in Lilongwe from 12 to 15 February to discuss project progress and the next steps of implementation. More detailed information on the meeting proceedings are available on the InnovAfrica website http://innovafrica.eu/.
In the coming months, KIAG together with project partners will focus on consolidating project results and research findings to generate knowledge that can be used and replicated by practitioners in the six African case countries. Techniques for sustainable agriculture intensification for forage-livestock systems and food crop production are promoted to improve food security in the small-scale farming context.
Photo: The InnovAfrica Consortium in Lilongwe, Malawi (copyright ILRI-BeCA)
KIAG on traceability and business intelligence mission in the Green Innovation Centre Mali
After the initial field study of ICT usage and preferences of producers in the mango, potato and rice value chains, KIAG was invited by GIZ and AFC to present the study results, elaborate an approach on digital traceability in the Malian Mango sector and to train the programme’s M&E team on data analytics and the use of state-of-the-art business intelligence software. This will help the Green Innovation Centres reporting and evaluation practices in the future.
Interviews conducted with key public and private sector representatives have clearly shown that digital traceability is the future for Malian Mango industry and next steps in implementing an ICT-based system along the value chain are now put in action.
Career Day (Unternehmenstag) at Hochschule Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences
On 14. November 2019, KIAG presented its work in the field of development cooperation and traceability at the “Unternehmenstag”, which has been organized by Hochschule Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Many interested students shared their views on the projects currently implemented by KIAG in different industries and countries.
Foto © Eva Tritschler 2019
‘Woodpecker’ Chain-of-Custody (CoC) software goes live: Lao timber chain embraces transparency
'Woodpecker' has been designed by KIAG following a joint specification workshop with Burapha and PEFC in Vientiane, Laos. The application’s principal purpose is to promote sustainable practices in Lao timber chain by tracking volumes of different wood species (Teak, Rubber, Eucalyptus, Acacia) and associated sustainability claims (Lao, Verified, Controlled, Certified) through the local value chain. This will avoid the creation of counterfeit claims and the introduction of wood from unknown sources. Deliveries of wood are thus documented in a protected and closed digital CoC, tracked and photographed in order to avoid misallocations or replacements of wood. Through this digital protocol of all wood transactions and their origin Burapha can detect any irregularities in their local supply chain and will build a stronger and more transparent linkage to wood producers in their sourcing area. Woodpecker also provides automated value estimations of different wood types based on variety, grade and dimensions. This helps small scale plantation owners and producers to value their wood appropriately and to benefit from sustainable logging practices.
Agreement with DARD on fruit traceability in the Tây Ninh Province
May 2019After two years of piloting the WeTrace traceability framework for tropical fruits in the Tây Ninh Province in Vietnam, on 29. May 2019, the President of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) – Mr. Vo Duc Trong – and the CEO of KIAG – Dr. Harald Puhl – signed an agreement on expanding the implementation of fruit traceability. Based on the agreement, KIAG will continue to support Tây Ninh DARD from 2020 to 2022 to run the traceability system. The project foresees a continued scaling of the efforts in order to make traceability available to all producers in the Province. Tây Ninh is among the pioneers in Vietnam to embrace “clean” and sustainable production practices and WeTrace is seen as a useful tool to facilitate the transition from conventional to improved practices.
InnovAfrica Training for KIPUS application in Malawi
InnovAfrica is continuing the adoption of knowledge and communication for development through the use of KIAG’s innovative KIPUS framework. In Lobi Dedza Malawi, KIAG, as the technology partner in the EU H2020 funded InnovAfrica project, trained M&E officers on how to enter field data into the digital platform using tablets or smartphones.
Simon Striegel of KIAG worked with two staff members of the University of Malawi and two SFHC data officers. Malawi is one among six InnovAfrica case countries to adopt the KIPUS tool to collect field data from the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification trials. Each country has selected at least 20 farmers who will have their field data entered on to the platform as a pilot.
Specification workshop of ‘Woodpecker’ chain-of-custody application for Burapha Agroforestry
Following the inception report in December 2018, KIAG met with Burapha Agroforestry and PEFC to define the specifications for the ‘Woodpecker’ chain of custody application which build on the KIPUS framework. Woodpecker tracks volumes of different wood types and associated sustainability claims through the local Lao supply chain by involving plantations, traders and buyers. This will further improve information about the origin of timber and full tracking along the supply chain. Small-scale timber producers benefit from improved transparency about timber prices and reliable markets for their traceable produce. The project is co-funded by funds of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-managed by the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG).
InnovAfrica SAI trial data collection kicked off in Kenya and Malawi
The InnovAfrica project organized a KIPUS training session for the Brachiaria forage-Livestock and Cereal-Legume trial system at BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya and in Dedza, Malawi. The trainings were facilitated by Mr. Simon Striegel from KIAG, who is the InnovAfrica ICT framework provider.
The InnovAfrica participants were drawn from KALRO and KENAFF in Kenya as well as the University of Malawi and the SFHC – all organizations will be involved in the trial data collection. The knowledge and skills gained from the training will be applied by the scientists in all InnovAfrica countries to collect digital data in the field using KIAG’s KIPUS digital framework as a much more efficient data collection system than previous analogue methods. KIPUS is a browser-based web-application and is designed to be used on android devices such as tablets and smartphones. The application will be used in documenting, monitoring and analysing the SAI trial data.
Adoption of KIPUS will also demonstrate the benefits of ICT-based data management and expose researchers in various Sub-Saharan African countries to state-of-the-art data management technology in agricultural value chains.
KIAG at ICT4D in Kampala
As in the last year, KIAG attended the 11th ICT4D conference. During these three days, experts discussed the latest opportunities for information and communication technology to foster development in various sectors.
Many organizations in the development context are still in the process to becoming digital, i.e. to use the information that lays at their feet to full effect. On 30 April, KIAG presented its solutions such as the KIPUS digital framework and website-based knowledge platforms that fully integrate data collection, data analytics and reporting for different groups of stakeholders during one conference session.
KIAG seeks to stay engaged with the ICT4D community aiming to offer traceability and knowledge sharing solutions in the context of development cooperation.
Download our presentation here: Download our presentation for ICT4D here
Multi-Stakeholder-Partnership in Vietnam and Philippines
KIAG has donated the use of their KIPUS traceability system to enable farmers to familiarize themselves with IT-based systems allowing full transparency in the agricultural value chain - from the seed to the fork.
The system is used in the framework of the BMZ-funded so-called MSP (Multi-Stakeholder-Partnership) project implemented by justiceF around the Mekong region of Vietnam and the Negros region in the Philippines. It is aimed at enabling supply chain members to reflect, voice and discuss their needs in order to build reliable and sustainable agricultural production systems. KIAG does also provide pro-bono help to the trainers supporting the members of the value chain in the use of the system.
Photo copyright: KIAG
Tây Ninh Traceability Project Result Presentation in Vietnam
Together with the Tây Ninh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) a presentation of the ongoing traceability project for agricultural production of small-scale producers in the Province was made, reporting about the last six months’ use of the “WeTrace” traceability approach. QR codes were affixed onto fruit, allowing for the consumer to have full transparency into production processes. Business Intelligence technology was used and demonstrated to gain insight from production data for all stakeholders and decision makers. The farmers discussed the potential and hindrances of traceability use.
Photo copyright: KIAG 2019
Webinar with GIZ ICT Working Group of the Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector
KIAG was invited by GIZ to hold a webinar on innovative, ICT-based approaches of promoting sustainability, transparency and capacity development along agricultural supply chains in Africa and Asia. In a 90-minute session, KIAG provided insights into its ICT-based value chain framework “WeTrace”, findings from a recent study with the Green Innovation Center in Mali, dynamic data analytics through the business intelligence software Microsoft PowerBI and general lessons learnt from implementing ICT solutions in numerous projects in African and Asian countries. Some of the major lessons learnt are:
- Export-oriented farmers, cooperatives and traders support the use of traceability and production based on good practices
- Audio and video is largely preferred over printed information
- Data structures in many development projects are sub-optimal, leading to difficulties when reporting (double entries) and high effort for reporting and analysis in general
- Data gathering within organizations (e.g. for surveys) is partly done digitally, but often still paper-based, creating a nightmare of paper which needs to be punched in
- Data analysis is based on old-fashioned processes instead of using streamlined data analysis from data capture to the business intelligence tools
KIAG was delighted to see that ICT is increasingly seen as a cross-cutting issue in promoting sustainability and livelihoods for beneficiaries of GIZ’s Green Innovation Centres.
InnovAfrica Stakeholder meeting in Mbeya, Tanzania
Partners and stakeholders of the EU-funded InnovAfrica research project have held their first meeting in 2019 in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands. The meeting was hosted by the Sokoine University of Agriculture and held in Mbeya. The consortium of partners visited the Rungwe project site where smallholders are introduced to innovative Brachiaria grass technologies to promote improved cattle feed, thereby scaling up milk production and marketing in the Rungwe District.
Starting in April 2019 existing farm performance data from the sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) trials in the six project countries will be digitized, subsequently analyzed and then be uploaded on the project’s Knowledge Portal, which will be run by InnovAfrica partners beyond the project’s tenure.
The Global Coffee Platform (GCP) and KIAG extend their work on coffee supply chain traceability to Kenya
Based on the GCP’s Sustainability Progress Framework (SPF) implementation with thousands of users in Vietnam, GCP and KIAG have expanded their work by collaborating with the GCP stakeholders in Kenya. Based on consultations of coffee stakeholders in Kenya a National Sustainability Curriculum (NSC) has been elaborated in Kenya. The relevant data underlying the NSC have been collected from close to 200 farms in the Embu Province in combination with farm performance metrics and geo-data defining plots. The results are currently analyzed and findings will help to identify existing challenges and prospects in promoting coffee supply chain sustainability in Kenya.
Ghana COTVET Registration & Accreditation Roll-Out
KIAG rolled out a new Registration & Accreditation system for the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) in Ghana. This system allows for self-service supported registration and subsequent accreditation and is a building block for further digitization of the vocational learning environment. COTVET and all users will profit from efficiency gains and process transparency. This new tool builds on top of the current Voucher Management System implemented for COTVET with PLANCO and sponsored by KfW. Further information can be retrieved from COTVET’S project website on the Ghana TVET Voucher Project (GTVP) on http://cotvet.gov.gh/index.php/gtvp/.
AFC and KIAG implement a baseline study on ICT in the Green Innovation Centre Mali
KIAG was hired by Agriculture and Finance Consultants (AFC), the implementing agency for GIZ’s Green Innovation Center Mali, to conduct a field study on ICT-based requirements of different value chains in different regions in Mali. The study is to provide a knowledge basis for further ICT implementation in the rice, potato/vegetable and mango supply chains.
Together with GIZ, AFC and local stakeholders of the project, KIAG has configured its OpenSource application KIPUS to collect a full set of metrics on preferences and habits regarding knowledge acquisition and ICT usage. The results were stored in a dedicated database and are now analyzed in Microsoft PowerBI to support decision making in implementing ICT solutions.
First results indicate that there is a clear “gender and age dimension” when implementing ICT in Mali, as women and project beneficiaries older than 40 years are far more reserved to using smartphone based applications than men and younger survey participants. Furthermore, there is a very clear preference of graphics, audio and video formats for knowledge transfer regarding good agricultural practices (see chart below).