Mobile Service Z-Kilimo Links Tanzanian Farmers to Agribusiness Information

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Written by Makula Dunbar

Technology created to exclusively  aid farmers is on the rise in both rural and urban areas across Africa. Now, a less complicated SMS service called Z-Kilimo will offer Tanzanian farmers agricultural tips ranging from techniques to the best seeds to use, All Africa reported.

The project is a collaboration between Zantel, a mobile telecom network, social and business mobile platform Sibesonke and Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture. According to All Africa, with only 35 percent of available extension officers, Tanzania’s agriculture ministry is lacking representatives who are designated to villages and who offer resourceful advice to farmers. Ultimately, the ministry would like to have experts available in every one of Tanzania’s 12,000 plus village, but currently more than 7,000 villages are without agriculture experts.

“The overall target is to substantially increase farming productivity and food security in the financially sustainable way,” Sibesonke Limited CEO Dr Uwe Schwarz, said in the report.

Through Z-Kilimo, smallholders can access helpful information and gain knowledge of current agriculture issues by dialing 149*50#.

“By 2015 each village is supposed to have extension officers in line with government target,” Dr. Mshindo Msolla , the ministry’s acting Permanent Secretary added.

The SMS-based service’s aim is to increase and better productivity while helping farmers make profitable decisions.

“Through this scheme, farmers even those in rural areas, can now easily gain access to vital information on how to properly manage their activities thus improve their productivity and accordingly, enhance the agricultural sector,” Zantel’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Francis Kiaga said.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Tanzanian economy as it is contributing significantly to increase Tanzania’s growth rate and enhancing its economic prospects.”

According to All Africa, the service is one that helps farmers gain the most from investing in mobile devices by contributing directly to their individual business growth. In addition, small-scale farmers have better access to timely market information.