Tigo yesterday announced the launch of a pilot project, known as ‘Tigo Kilimo,’ which aims to provide farmers with relevant and timely agricultural information from their mobile phones.
According to a press statement issued yesterday, ‘Tigo Kilimo’ is an SMS-based application which presents small-scale farmers in Tanzania with an unprecedented opportunity to run their operations more productively. Through this platform, it said, farmers get real-time information on weather forecast and agricultural tips. Further, it enables them to increase their yield and help close the productivity gap with other parts of the world, the statement said.
“Using mobile phone based agricultural solutions will create linkages and help farmers improve their farming practices,” said Yaya Ndjore, project manager for ‘Tigo Kilimo’ service at Tigo Tanzania.
“The impact of poor transport and communications infrastructures, mean that farmers in developing countries struggle to get access to vital agricultural information, as well as training and advice on topics such as pests and diseases, weather and proven farming practices. Through this service, Tigo will offer new, cost-effective and scalable solutions to address these challenges,” he said.
As the official Communications Sponsor of Nane Nane and in celebration of the agricultural trade week, Tigo is offering farmers free access to ‘Tigo Kilimo’ for the month of August, it said.
Farmers can access this service via their mobile phones by simply dialing *148*14#, bringing them to the Tigo Kilimo menu, it said.
The menu screen will display a list of general information on daily weather forecast, comprehensive details on soil management, pest control methods on more than 20 common vegetable, fruit and grain crops, and information on livestock care and life-cycle, it said.
In the second phase of the project, Tigo will add more services, such as information on market price, as well as to set up an interactive helpline for farmers to call in for advice, the statement said.
The mobile phone overcomes the lack of power and wire-line communication infrastructure in rural areas, it said, adding that this gives Tigo a higher penetration into rural communities, enabling them to reach farmers with basic, but essential information via its platform.