The problem of overindebtedness is a growing phenomenon among farmers. Although price volatility is an explanatory factor, the lack of monitoring the farm’s financial situation is often an aggravating or even central factor.
Development of a simplified online management tool was initiated as part of the AGRICOGEST project which brings together four partners: the CRA-W, GroupeOne, Diversiferm and the GASAP network (Groupes d'Achat Solidaires de l'Agriculture Paysanne [Small Scale Farm Joint Buying Groups]). The software is currently being developed from two existing and complementary tools: TresoGest, an Excel management tool for diversified farms developed by the CRA-W, and EcoBox, an online simplified management tool for very small businesses developed by GroupeOne. With a wealth of experience and successes, the project aims to promote and share the knowledge acquired from these 2 tools. In order for the new tool to best adapt to user’s needs, development is part of a process of co-construction, integrating future users throughout the process:
- Identify features with future users
What features are to be integrated in the tool? To answer this question, a workshop was arranged with future beneficiaries. The workshop brought together supporting organisations (Crédal, the Mouvement d’Actions Paysannes, Accueil Champêtre de Wallonie, Créajob, Finagri, GASAP network) as well as farmers from various farms (the Ferme de Stée, the Ferme d’Esclaye, the Ferme Crèvecoeur). In all, 23 features were listed and prioritised. The tool must be a gateway to collect its figures and must be addressed to all farmers with no management tool, in activity or considering setting up.
- Designing indicators with advisers
How are indicators to be designed that answer farmers’ specific questions? To address this issue, a working group was formed with financial management advisers. A schedule of suppliers and customers to know in one click the details of supplier arrears and late paying customers, and a cash forecast table to anticipate shortfall months are among the indispensable indicators for proper control of the farm.
- Testing the prototype and diffusion model directly in the field
Can the software be easily learned and is it adapted to the realities in the field? To find out, the new tool is being tested by a GASAP network supporter with 5 farmers up until September.
At the end of this process, the tool will be disseminated more broadly to the industry while maintaining an iterative and collaborative approach in order to continuously optimise it on the basis of feedback from users and to make it compatible with other freeware.
Curious to learn more? Come and listen to the presentation of the project and learn the name of the new application at the Libramont Agricultural Fair on Friday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m. at LEC 2.