Psaltry Nigeria Case Study
Cassava processor embraces Farmforce’s contract farmer management and
traceability tools to supply Heineken and expand.
Psaltry’s Success and Opportunities:
A decade after founding, Yemisi Iranloye’s Psaltry International was one of the largest food-grade
starch processing companies in Nigeria, producing over 10,000 tons annually. The center of their
success was a commitment to sourcing from small-scale producers, creating a local supply of
increasingly high quality cassava tubers (i). To build this supply, Psaltry started contracting smallholder
farmers in 2012, offering above market prices to incentive farmers to plant cassava as a commercial
crop. With this move to contracting, Psaltry realized it needed better farmer management to grow
the business and to better forecast farmer yield and the corresponding cassava deliveries to the
processing plant. With the potential to supply to Nigerian Breweries, the local subsidiary of
Heineken International, Yemisi realized she needed to formalize how Psaltry managed their
smallholder sourcing and to add transparency in the supply chain to work with international
companies like Heineken.
Heineken’s Local Sourcing Goals:
Driven by the goal of strengthening the African agricultural sector, while reducing its carbon footprint and securing sustainable supply chains, Dutch brewer Heineken is committed to sourcing 60% of raw materials in its African beers from local sourcesii – Psaltry is an important supplier and partner towards this goal in Nigeriaiii. Heineken, with international standards, wants more transparency in its supply chain, knowing where cassava that goes into its beer is grown and to have reliable forecasting on how much cassava starch it can expect on a weekly basis to better manage its beer brewing. In 2015, this was a significant demand on Psaltry, with farmer record keeping done on paper, with a rural network of agronomic extension agents working with the supplier farmers.
Seeing an opportunity, the International Fertilizer Development Center supported Psaltry to integrate Farmforce’s cloud-based Advanced Farming platform to digitize all farmer records and to roll out the web and mobile application to revolutionize how they worked with contracted smallholder farmers.
Understanding Priorities, Integrating Farmforce:
When discussing how to integrate Farmforce to support Psaltry’s work with smallholders, it was
critical for the Farmforce team to understand both company KPIs and each of the current processes
used in sourcing, farmer agronomic trainings, distribution of seedlings and inputs and loans offered.
Along with the rest of the industry, previously record keeping was done on paper and it was an issue
getting real-time yield forecasts and keeping track of loan repayments from the smallholder farmers.
Senior management prioritized creating transparency in their systems to meet supplier standards
from Heineken and wanted better tracking and forecasting on farmer yield to project delivery
On-site trainings were conducted with Psaltry’s executive management, IT and field teams in Nigeria. Through remote technical integration workdays, all of Psaltry’s current farmer data was uploaded onto the platform and modules were configured to reflect exactly what the teams wanted to manage the relationships with the farmer. Demonstrating early in the discussions how Farmforce would help address many of the challenges limiting the company’s commercial success was important for staff buy-in and subsequent use in the organization.
Two years into using Farmforce, in October 2017, Psaltry’s CEO noted that Farmforce had completely changed their farmer management approach. Field staff no longer need to come into the office to submit reports and, for the first time, the company has reliable knowledge on where all their cassava comes from and can now project delivery volumes. Psaltry has grown the number of smallholder farmers they contract and manage on the platform by 70%, while also improving a range of internal and external critical business operations.
Impact on Psaltry’s Operations:
Next Steps for Psaltry:
Building on its business success to date, Yemisi and her team plan to continue expanding their
sourcing from smallholder farmers and will use Farmforce when they set up their first international
operation in Kenya. In order to digitize more of their operations, Psaltry will soon use the tools on
the platform to track specific inputs delivered to farmers and within their own warehouse
operations, all steps to increasing the transparency and traceability in their operations to make
better strategic management decisions.