OFN Portugal, smartfarmer project needs, and potential contribution

Oikos is a reference NGO in Portugal acting specially in Africa and Latin America but with many projects in Portugal as well and has created SmartFarmer to improve the food system in Portugal. The project comprises several dimensions to it and some of them are very similar to OFN. I met some of the team members at Oikos and we had the opportunity to discuss a few topics I’d like to share with you in this post.

We have discussed whether we will have a Portuguese OFN instance or if we will start by joining Katuma. I created a paralell post for that topic here: OFN Portugal instance

The most interesting discussion for the general community was about features of the smartfarmer tool, what oikos is looking for in OFN and what are the possibilities of integration of the two tools.

The overall finding is that smaryfarmer is more focused than ofn on the demand side of the platform where consumers can access/search products from different producers. The solution for this type of feature is currently to create a smartfarmer hub in ofn where many producers products are gathered.
One of the basic features of smartfarmer (like many tools of the same type) is to allow the user to search for shops and products based on user postal code, this is something interesting for OFN, I am not sure this has been discussed in OFN.

Smartfarmer has specific features, that it will mantain, like producers created produce auctions and the support to run food procurement processes for public canteens (I have learned a lot in this meeting!).

But many features like consumers and producers accont/profile management, catalog management, order placement and order managament are common to OFN and can potentially be migrated to OFN. So a good part of the conversation was about integrating the two tools:

  • integrate shared login data - SSO integration

  • integrate shared account data - login and user and enterprise details shared across apps

  • catalog and orders integration

These come as more requirements for the advancement of ofns api so that ofn becomes a more interoperable solution and these integrations become easy.

Finally we have discussed features that would be interesting for smartfarmer in ofn that are not currently supported, i will list the two main ones discussed:

  • catalog search by the user across multiple shops - this is where an external ofn module could be developed to build this feature using the ofn catalog api

  • integration with oddo for invoicing - oddo is certified by the portuguese government as a valid invoicing system

These are some examples of features that oikos wants in OFN that i believe are very interesting for the OFN community. having Oikos sponsoring the development of some of these items would be a fabulous contribution for the community!

I look forward seeing where we can go from here!

All this sounds really good! Something I’d like to specially take care of when we get into details is who will maintain such integrations and how we can make the extra complexity all this brings manageable for all parties.

That being said, I can share some details and opinions regarding some of these topics.

Integration with Odoo for invoicing

At Katuma we had a meeting with a coop that will potentially adopt Katuma (90% chances; needs approval from the coop’s assembly) but also might join another project Coopdevs is in where we could help them improve their processes including their accounting.

Their are now scaling up to 60 families with the goal of reaching up to 100 in the mid future. We see this case as a pilot for this OFN-Odoo integration and we’d like to use the resources we have to explore it.

If we can have Oikos in the loop that will benefit as all. To be clear, this is just an idea that needs to be investigated and brought back to earth.

Catalog search

I see this the way to go. I’d just increase the priority or find the resources to bring it to life, as we recently started doing with the documentation. Done in parallel to Oikos’ needs, betting on it will benefit this, and other potential integrations/automations (thinking about Zappier and the like for our own usage).

SSO integration

I haven’t put too much thought on it but what comes to my mind is where would the configuration management this extra service requires live. Or how would we manage the fact that then not all instances are the same; an instance that doesn’t need SSO wouldn’t need the service so their infrastructure would stick to the current simplicity.

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