Agrivi Talk: Victor dos Santos

Tanja Folnovic

Agronomy Expert

Our customer's satisfaction and success is our goal. This time we have pleasure to present you interview which has been made with Victor dos Santos, our happy user from Mozambique.

Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you from? Where does your passion for agriculture come from? What is your current occupation?

I was born in Mozambique. My parents emigrated to South Africa in 1965. My passion for agriculture started when I finished my Articles of Clerkship with Ernst & Winney and was appointed as the company secretary of a multi-crop farming enterprise in 1980.

Computer systems were new to farming in South Africa and no applications were available. The enterprise had purchased a new micro-computer with the intention of automating the most tedious administrative and financial tasks.

The first application that I designed and specified was to assist in the processing of our wages. We used to employ about 1200 people full-time and during picking season this number swelled to 2400 people.

The wages application catered to both normal wages (i.e. daily paid personnel) and personnel that were paid based on task (e.g. sugar cane cutters were paid a daily wage plus a bonus based on the number of meters of cane cut during a week). Those tasked with the picking of fruit would be paid according to the number of pockets of fruit picked during the week.

The second application dealt with farming cost and management accounting. This application was interfaced with the wages application for labor costs.

The third application was a crop planning application designed to forecast the net return on a field/crop based on projected inputs and projected output, while taking into account climatic, fertilization, and irrigation conditions.

The fourth application was a sales and market agent control application. It was designed to inform the logistics function of the prices and volumes being sold in local and overseas markets. It would then inform us as to where fruit consignments should be directed in order to maximize the price, and therefore return potential.

Currently, along with farming I am a Supply Chain Management Consultant and educator. I have an interest in three other businesses all related to supply chain management, consultancy, education, and computer assisted education and training.

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What do you think are the main advantages of implementing new technologies in agriculture? Which latest advancements in AgTech are you most excited about?

Agriculture, like all aspects of the modern economy, requires one to be able to forecast and measure actual performance and compare expected results with actual results. To do this effectively without enabling technology is near impossible. Farmers know that their returns are directly related to investment in mechanical equipment, irrigation, and quality seed and/or tree stock. In order to measure the return on these inputs farmers also need to record the costs of these inputs and correlate these costs to the crops they grow.

I'm most excited about the advances in automated data collection systems. This would eliminate the common perception that data collection and processing is ”non-value adding.”

What are the biggest challenges you faced when managing your business that inspired you to begin thinking about investing in a farm management software? Are you using any other technologies like remote sensors or drones?

When I first decided to farm for my own account I had no doubt that I needed a system that would enable me to control the operation by numbers. Based on my previous experiences farm management software was a no-brainer. In the next two to three years we will be investing in automation to control irrigation and mechanization for increasing efficiency in harvesting and crop processing. Our next goal is to invest in sensors, including drones, that will allow for efficiency in delivering the correct amount of water and fertilizer to the crops when they need it.

When you were looking for farm management software to invest in, what were the key requirements that needed to be met by the software to get your attention?

The software needed to understand the type of farming we were involved in, which is tree crop production. It needed to facilitate the definition of a unit of production in the geographical context of the farm. It needed to be able to enable the recording of activities performed. We needed a software that, based on the activity, would calculate materials used during performance. If a fertilization activity is performed and the quantity of fertilizer specified, we needed it to calculate the amount of fertilizer that should be consumed from the fertilizer store. The software needed to be based on a production process that would be inclusive of consumed crop quantities and packaging materials, in accordance with the Specification (Bill of Material), as well as the consumption of other resources like labour and production line time.

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In your opinion, does investing in data-driven decision making ultimately pay off for farmers? In other words, why do you believe farm management software is worth the effort? What are the biggest benefits?

To me the only way I can run and manage a farming operation, even one as small as ours, is to be dependent upon good information. In order to get good information I must either employ people to collect and record the information manually or I must employ a tool that enables me to record the transactions as they occur, and based on the rules specified within an application, correlate automatically. There is no doubt that employing such a tool is the most effective manner to get the information I need to manage the farming operation.

How did you find Agrivi?

I researched various systems available using the internet and Agrivi was the one system that offered me the most functionality.

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What made you decide that Agrivi was the right solution for you?

Agrivi did not require me to own or manage an IT infrastructure. In terms of function, it appeared to offer most of the functionality I required.

What did your communication with Agrivi look like before you decided to upgrade to a full membership?

I started with the basic modules but then realized that I needed to upgrade to the Winery System in order to support the product processing aspect of the business.

How satisfied are you with Agrivi customer support?

I'm satisfied with the customer support I've received. However, the system is very intuitive and I have not needed much support.

Which features would you like us to add into the product that you believe would be highly beneficial to farmers worldwide?

    • Integration or an interface to an ERP system would be very useful to me. My preference would be an interface or integration to Quickbooks Online or even better, oDoo.
    • Make the winery bill of materials a little more intuitive.

Thank you Victor for sharing your experience of using Agrivi Farm Management Software with us.

We are pleased to help our customers in increasing their productivity and profitability. Victor had recognized Agrivi as valuable partner. Sign up in Agrivi for free and start monitoring your food production.