Using the cloud computing architecture to automate the farmer input support programme(FISP) inventory system
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Food security remains a corner stone of every economy. This concept is defined as having both the physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences. Attaining Food security has been a major problem world over and this problem has mainly affected the developing countries Zambia inclusive. Governments have come in to try and avert this problem by introducing measures that help with food security. In Zambia, the government introduced the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) were subsidised inputs are distributed to small scale farmers. Inventory processes in this program remain mainly manual based. This has resulted in lengthy business processes and inconsistent data processing leading to tedious and complicated processes in the sector. A baseline study was carried out using a mixed method approach in order to understand the challenges in the distribution and management of FISP. The results from the three (03) warehouses that were surveyed showed that none was not linked to any computer system or had any computer at all. The results showed that 61.76 percent of record keeping was done on spreadsheets and relayed on manual paper based systems to capture data. About 68 percent of respondents said the systems lacked proper monitoring and tracking mechanisms which lead to stock theft. The findings also revealed that of the thefts that occurred, 56 percent were at the warehouses, 35 percent during transportation and 9 percent at satellite depots. This research was aimed at automating the inventory processes based on the results from a baseline study. A model was developed and used to come up with a prototype to integrate and automate business processes using barcode technology. The developed system showed improved processes in the FISP inventory system by reducing the time it took for a user to capture a record. Data accuracy and integrity also improved as the human error aspect was eliminated. The system has been developed using Iterative software development technique. PHP as a server-scripting language was used to facilitate communication between the front-end and the backend. MySQL database was used in the development of the database to be used for the storage of data in the prototype. NetBeans and Apache web server were used as the developmental tools. A YK-930 model scanner was used in the implementation of Barcode technology. The developed system will be deployed using the cloud architecture so that the application can be accessed anywhere regardless of geographical location as long as internet accessibility is available. This research is expected to bring about accountability, smooth distribution and timely movement of inputs from source to destination with FISP.
The University of Zambia
- Engineering