WHAT has been giving millions of farmers in
Mobile phone technologies are presenting
Private companies, up and coming information technology entrepreneurs, NGOs as well as governments are all involved in a variety of mobile phonebased products, services and applications, small software programmes that users can access on their handsets, aimed at boosting small scale agriculture. According to a document published by the Forum for
The success of these earlier services has, however, been haphazard, largely because of lower mobile penetration rates at that stage as well as a lack of a viable business plans behind many of the projects. The IST-Africa website cites that today, the mobile telephone market is one of the fastest growing sector, moreover, mobile subscriber base has been rising from 15 million people in 2009 to 20.9 million which is equal to an increase of 27.5 per cent of the mobile subscribers per year. This shows that mobile phone penetration is growing at a considerable rate.
Out of the 20.7 million mobile phone subscribers, only 4.8 million (25 per cent) of the subscriber's access and use internet with mobile internet having more users about 2.2 (45.4 per cent of the internet users) million users. Tigo Tanzania recently launched its Tigo Kilimo product for farmers, which gives weather information, market prices and agronomy tips.
A pilot project was launched in
"Farmers' biggest complaint revolves around market prices, they are demanding for this to be timely and readily available. We are currently working on modalities with the
Only the ministry has the mandate of issuing market prices," he said. Tigo Kilimo may be new to the ears of many people and is only currently being promoted in the Tigo Smile Tour, which is an activation caravan that plans to travel in over 10 regions where Tigo is expecting to widen its reach and strengthen its presence, there is a village in Shinyanga called Ukiriguru where there is no Tigo network coverage, but there are 200 people with Tigo SIM cards.
Ms Nyamizi Mirembe, a sweet potato grower in the village said that she has had the SIM card for a couple of months now and had obtained it specifically for the mobile farming product because it hoped that she would get some insight of new ways of growing sweet potatoes. She, however, said that because there is no Tigo coverage in her village, she is forced to travel a few hundred kilometres heading to Shinyanga where there is a reception and she has been benefiting from the service but admitted that it was proving costly for her.
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