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[February 03, 2014]
Smallholder Farmers Benefit From Vodacom Agri-Solutions Project
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ABOUT 600 smallholder farmers have benefited from a mobile agricultural solutions programme introduced by cell phone service provider, Vodacom, geared to improving agriculture.
The company's Managing Director, Mr Rene Meza, said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that with commercially sustainable mobile agricultural solutions under the Connected Farmers Alliance (CFA) now in use, farmers are experiencing better yields and receiving pay for their produce directly through their mobile phones.
The service developed by Finland-based Sibesonke Limited, dubbed mFarming, is on the other hand helping farmers access real-time information on weather forecasts, crop and livestock management tips including advice on topics such as pests and disease treatment.
"The agricultural sector plays a key part in the growth of this economy and we believe that with this service, plus others under the CFA initiative, farmers will get more from their farms as well as improve the country's food security situation.
Through mobile phones, farmers even in very remote areas are now connected with experts and other farmers," said Mr Meza.
The mFarming service allows farmers to buy and sell crops and livestock; receive crop management tips for 23 crops; livestock management tips for six animal types; the day's weather forecast for free and a 3-day forecast with subscription.
Farmers are also able to ask for transport services through the service in order to get their produce to the market. Farmers who are Vodacom subscribers can access the mFarming service by dialling *149*50# on their mobile phones.
According to the Sibesonke chief executive officer, Mr Uwe Schwarz, the service runs on the company's award-winning USSD-based mobile community platform, sending the agricultural information directly to the farmers' mobile phones.
Vodacom Tanzania and Sibesonke signed a strategic cooperation pact in May, last year, to provide life-improving value-added mobile services in Tanzania, after Sibesonke got into content partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries.
Visiting Finnish Minister for International Development, Pekka Haavisto, said that the partnership between Sibesonke and the mobile network operator was the kind of friendship the government of Finland was looking at having in developing countries under the guidance of the Task Force on Innovations for Development and Business.
Copyright Tanzania Daily News. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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