ESRF Launches Mobile Kilimo Platform in Ileje District.

    On 9th, May 2015 the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) through Knowledge Management Department with support from the Government of Tanzania and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched the Mobile Kilimo Platform in Ileje, Mbeya Region. The colorful launching ceremony was graced by the Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Marketing, Hon. Janet Mbene.

    The Mobile Kilimo Platform is an innovative mobile phone-based platform, which aims at helping farmers to access markets for agriculture products and promoting knowledge sharing by enabling extension officers to share knowledge among themselves and with farmers. Through the platform farmers can receive alerts and information regarding outbreak of diseases, new technology seeds, seasons, etc. Also, once registered for the service, farmers and buyers of crops can meet online and do business.

    In this way, the Mobile Kilimo improve the communication between extension officers and farmers; farmers acquire knowledge on new agriculture techniques; and they are connected to a larger market, where they can buy and sell products through their mobile phones.

    In her opening speech, Hon. Mbene praised ESRF for coming up with such an initiative. She said the initiative would be more beneficial to Ileje district due to the fact that 90% of people are farmers. She urged Ileje people to take the advantage of the platform to improve their living standards.

    Earlier, the Ileje District Commissioner, Mrs. Rosemary Staki Senyamule promised to make close follow up on the implementation of the project in the district. She told extension officers to use the provided tablets for the intended purposes.

    Presenting the UNDP statement during the event, Ms Kristina Weibel said "when I visited Bunda in November, the farmers explained that they used M-Kilimo to seek advice and guidance from the extension officers, and to advertise products and find markets in timely and cost effective ways. At the same time, the extension officers were pleased with the opportunity to reach more farmers by being able to share information and providing guidance using the online platform". She urged People in Ileje to emulate the Bunda successes for their economic and social development.

    Mobile Kilimo is an outcome of studies which Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) conducted in different wards in Bunda and Bukoba Rural Districts. The studies revealed that majority of respondents above 80% possess mobile phones; therefore the usage of mobile phones would easy communication and easily facilitate information and knowledge among communities.

    The M-Kilimo launching was preceded by a one-day training to 35 Ileje District agricultural and forestry extension officers. The intention of the training was to empower extension officers with skills to manage the platform. It was necessary to them to understand the operations of the platform so that they can use it properly to deliver the services to the communities but also to train other people how to use it.

    As part of the ceremony, the guest of honour handed over to extension officers tablets that will enable them to make use of the platform. The Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) is therefore hoping that extension officers, farmers and buyers will use the initiative to improve their livelihood.

    Last updated on 2015-05-12

ESRFs activities are supported by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC)