Farmers and Extension officers in Ikungi District of Singida Region have received cloud-linked smartphones to help them digitalize their daily undertakings.
Issued by Farm Africa, the smartphones donation has also benefitted leaders of women farming groups.
The digital communication devices comes installed with an online networking portal known as ‘Kobo Collect,’ to help the recipients access useful tips, timely information, market outlets and weather reports as well as asking and finding solutions to a number of problems affecting agricultural practices.
The Farm Africa Evaluation and Monitoring officer Godson Lema, says the agro e-system portal also links local growers with extension officers eliminating the need for the latter to travel long distances to meet the former on matters that can easily be solved virtually.
At least six women representatives of farmers in the six villages of Ikungi were presented with the Infinix devices, whereas three extension officers got Samsung branded smartphones.
Hellen Jackson is the Gender Inclusion and Youth Officer at Farm Africa.
“We are going to assist farmers to establish their special networking groups on WhatsApp platforms through which ideas will be shared and information circulated,” she explains.
‘Realising Gender through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls’ is the on-going initiative linking over 700 farmers under the Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives (AMCOs) across the district.
Beneficiary farmers, mostly women get trained on additional value chains for sunflower produce.
The farmers are responsible for the production of 15.6 tons of sunflower seeds varieties through the Quality Declared Seeds (QDS) system.
“We have decided to empower the beneficiary farmers to produce the QDS sunflower seeds in order to help bridge the existing gap in timely access of sunflower seeds among most farmers across the district,“ Hellen Jackson stated.
The Tanzania Official Seeds Certification Institute (TOSI) and the QDS seeds have ratified the farms in Singida to be produce and distribute the quality seedlings for the forthcoming farming season.
Program Manager for Farm Africa in Tanzania, Tumaini Elibariki, explains that women account for nearly 70 percent of sunflower growers in Tanzania but only 17 percent of them are members of the Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives.
Under the project Farm Africa has constructed a warehouse in the village of Mnang’ana in Ikungi district to assist cooperative members to enhance collective marketing and reduce post-harvest losses.
The QDS system provides farmers with the assurance of seed quality while reducing the burden on government agencies responsible for seed certification and the scheme is not designed to compete with the existing conventional quality control system, but rather complement it and ensure farmers have greater access to quality seed.