From the clouds fall the rains that bring much welcomed moisture and nutrients for farmers the world over.
But for a group of growers on the island kingdom of Tonga, a cloud of the virtual kind offers a whole new world of innovation in agriculture.
A cloud-based application called AgWorld is making a huge difference in how growers manage their farms on the island kingdom.
Developed by an Australian company, the AgWorld app is a data management system that aids in farm planning, budgeting, tracking and managing product inputs, job management, compliance, agronomy, logistics and grower services.
The app collects data at every level of the farm’s operation, and it is also in a position to share the data with everyone you want to share it with.
All this data is stored in the cloud, and once subscribed, can be accessed from any computer, tablet or smart phone.
In Tonga, Nishi Trading was able to introduce the AgWorld app to a number of farmers.
Jenny Nishi, the Project Manager for Nishi Trading Company, based out of Tonga said her company had been looking at the farming app for some time with the hope of capturing real-time activities and work plans at their farms.
“As our farm is widespread over several locations this has improved efficiency in production by being able to post daily work plans with the farm manager without physically being there.
“It also enables Nishi Trading to capture financial data as well as production details such as spray diaries, chemical rate and so on,” added Nishi.
The app has brought about cutting-edge knowledge to local farmers on how they manage their resources and improve efficiencies all within an easy-to-use application.
Nishi said the app is very new to Tonga.
“It was launched in February (2020) here in Tonga and we had farmers, ICT companies, NGO’s and Government officials attending.
“We gave two of our growers a subscription and iPad – they both said it was a really important tool for them and one of the wives said it was like a diary for her.”
“Sefo’s Diary” is how she labeled it.
Ksuta Mone is a name in Tonga that is synonymous with women that are taking the agriculture landscape by a storm as a result of the AgWorld app.
She assists her husband farmer Sefo in managing the family farm, particularly when it comes to planning, record keeping, finances and farm yields.
“The farming platform (“Agworld”) is very useful to track activities in my husband’s field as it outlines financial expenses, identifies best practices for managing the plantation and stores a history of activities addressed in their field and many more.”
She said that she fully supports her husband in managing and monitoring their farms, both in administration and field responsibilities.
“I’m proud that my husband and I are given this opportunity to utilise this advanced platform, which has improved our capability to closely monitor and manage our respective plantations.”
This among a few is the change that has impacted the agriculture sector in Tonga.
So much so, that Mone has been celebrated as a strong entrepreneur – now changing the dynamic that farming is an enterprise and farmers are now entrepreneurs.
The AgWorld app also harnesses the communal aspect of Pacific life – farmers helping farmers thrive by sharing ways in which they can capitalise on the skills and resources available.
The family-owned Nishi Trading Company Limited is one of Tonga’s largest exporters of frozen taro, cassava, breadfruit and fresh butternut, butterkin, pumpkin and watermelon.
The company has a proud history of exporting quality products to markets like Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Samoa, American Samoa and China.
For a business that has operated for nearly two decades, Nishi Trading has grown and diversified and today is ready for a future of integrating digital platforms such as the AgWorld app with agriculture to make it more efficient, consistent and productive.
This is one of a series of impact stories featured in the Pacific Farmer Organisations undertaken by members in 9 Pacific Island Countries under the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific – fo4acp programme – which is managed by Pacific Farmer Organisations and funded by the European Union (EU), the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).