Programs for creating Improved Farming Plans for African Smallholders

Related Research Program
Food Stable Agricultural Production
Related Research Project
Africa upland farming system

BFMen/BFMmz/BFMgh/BFMbf: User-friendly Programs for Creating Improved Farming Plans for African Smallholders

BFMen, BFMmz, BFMgh, and BFMbf are user-friendly programs that can be used to suggest improved farming plans based on a farm management model for assisting smallholder farmers in Africa ( We plan to use the programs for supporting farmers’ decisions under related research projects including the “Development of soil and crop management technologies to stabilize upland farming systems of African smallholder farmers” (

Program Features

  • BFMen, BFMmz, BFMgh, and BFMbf are the programs derived from BFM (Builder of Farming Model), a Japanese program for creating farming plans (Oishi 2008). These programs can create a farming plan that consists of smallholders’ mixed cropping systems, meets the needs for food self-sufficiency, and maximizes income.
  • BFMen is an English version of the program with currency and area unit conversion functions. 
  • BFMmz is a Portuguese version and was developed in conjunction with the project on “Improving Research and Technology Transfer Capacity for Nacala Corridor Agriculture Development, Mozambique” (In Japanese: 
  • BFMgh is an English version and was developed in conjunction with the project titled “Development of sustainable technologies to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security in Africa” ( for the purpose of making effective use of supplementary irrigation techniques using a small reservoir in northern Ghana.
  • BFMbf is a French version and was developed in conjunction with the project on the “Establishment of the model for fertilizing cultivation promotion using Burkina Faso phosphate rock” ( for the purpose of evaluating upland fertilization techniques in central Burkina Faso.
  • Sample data collected in the abovementioned projects are available in BFMen, BFMmz, BFMgh, and BFMbf.

Startup screen of BFMen

Output image of the farming plan created by BFMen

Operation manual of BFMen

From download to startup

  1. Download the program of your choice.
  2. Double-click or otherwise unzip the downloaded file and create the folder "BFMen", "BFMmz", "BFMgh", or "BFMbf" in the desired location.
  3. Right-click "BFMen.xla", "BFMmz.xla", "BFMgh.xla", or "BFMbf.xla" in the created folders and open their properties. Check the "Unblock" checkbox to the right of "Security" in the tab "General" and click "OK.
  4. Double-click "BFMen.xla", "BFMmz.xla", "BFMgh.xla", or "BFMbf.xla", and when the message box "Microsoft Excel Security Notice" appears, click "Show Signature Details" and confirm that the publisher is JAPAN INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and click "Trust all from publisher".
  5. Excel will start and the start-up menu of the program will appear.

Note 1) The extension ".xla" may not be shown depending on settings of your PC.

Note 2) If the file cannot be opened due to Protected View, go to [File]-[Options]-[Trust Center]-[Trust Center Settings]-[Protected View], uncheck "Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet" and click "OK". Then reopen the file.

BFMen Manual
BFMmz Maual
BFMgh Manual
BFMbf Maual


All programs run using Microsoft Excel Version 2013 (up to April 2023)/  2016/ 2019/ 365 in Windows 10 and 11.

Notes on use

  • Use a genuine copy of Microsoft Excel to avoid any problems in the operation.
  • Set the macro security level of Excel to “Disable all macros with notification”.
  • Please refer to the operation manual for details.
  • None of the programs guarantee that the users will derive the same results as the calculated outputs (ex. total income) when putting the created farming plan into practice.

Instruction of BFMmz to extension officers (Mozambique)

Sowing instruction to farmers based on the created farming plan (Mozambique)