MobiLeaf is a tablet-based grower management software package that offers real-time data from our farmers around the world. It allows us to improve tobacco production at the farm level by bringing standard methods of good agricultural practices (GAP) to our growers. We use the program to obtain precise GPS locations of grower fields, record on-farm activities and production practices, and track crop yields by farmer.

With MobiLeaf, our leaf technicians are able to track farmer performance, efficiently implement Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP), and monitor other agricultural, sustainability and social responsibility elements of our GAP program.

We first conceptualized MobiLeaf in 2012, and have continued to develop and improve it. We recently introduced an enhanced version, which is compatible with today’s most popular mobile and computer technologies. This current version is being distributed to more than 325,000 farmers and 2,000 leaf technicians throughout South America, Africa, Asia, the European Union, and Central America.

MobiLeaf is an intuitive, user-friendly application by which data can easily—and quickly—be shared between the farm and the office. It provides the technicians with a valuable tool for real-time tracking of crop cultivation and harvesting data including: plot size, nutrient details, plant population and spacing information, irrigation and rainfall data, crop input information, and crop yield estimates and actual marketed volume. The technicians can electronically capture digital agronomic information and easily share the information with both farmers and local management. It allows technicians to respond more quickly to problems as they arise, ultimately resulting in a better-quality crop.

MobiLeaf also enables our mobile agronomy staff to perform the following functions: farmer registration; crop estimates and projections; crop development and progress; crop protection agents (CPA) and non-tobacco related materials (NTRM) risk management. Training, compliance and crop assistance documentation is delivered to the tablet in a secure manner, giving the farmer and the leaf technician information directly to their fingertips.

Universal’s commitment to being a responsible participant in the communities where we operate has been incorporated into the development of MobiLeaf. As such, we are able to track a farmer’s participation in, and adherence with, ALP, GAP, local government regulations, sensitive social and labor issues, and documentation of social responsibility programs.

We have already seen numerous benefits from using MobiLeaf. The system maximizes and standardizes activity workflow. It has drastically reduced the large volume of paperwork previously generated as well as the re-keying of data. This has greatly improved accuracy and eliminated the need to re-record data at a later time. Demanding processes which previously took weeks to perform have been streamlined and can now be completed in a single day.

Because of this successful consolidation, the costs associated with the capture and distribution of information between the field and the company have been significantly reduced. MobiLeaf has not only made our operations more efficient, it has also improved the sustainability of our supply chain and allows us to better service the communities we depend upon.

Thanks to the software’s innate versatility, MobiLeaf has been customized to meet the needs of our diverse sourcing regions. We plan to continue to innovate the software to achieve our goal of providing a strong base that will sustain farmers, resources, and communities by promoting sound agricultural practices for years to come.