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Tanzanian sesame farmers trial new training app on their smartphones

15 December 2016

Tanzanian sesame farmers trial new training app on their smartphones

Farm Africa has been working with local partners Inades-Formation and Community Support Initiatives Tanzania (COSITA) to train sesame farmers in Tanzania using smartphones loaded with training apps.

In central Tanzania, around 10,000 smallholder farmers are set to benefit from the new technology, which will help them to increase their yields and profits.

The smartphones are loaded with five training modules which focus on improving agricultural skills as well as knowledge of seeds and local markets, which they can study in their own time and on their own farms.

Farmers taking part in the project are able to buy the smartphones on credit, and repay the money in instalments. They can also choose to train other farmers instead of making repayments. For example by taking a fellow farmer through five training modules one farmer will deduct TSh 2,000/- (about 72p) from his repayment schedule, and will receive an additional TSh 500/- in cash – through mobile banking set up on his smartphone.

Mobile training also looks to be a more cost-effective method of reaching bigger numbers of farmers than demonstration plots. Demonstration plots require bigger investments of time and equipment for each farmer who attends the session, while mobile training brings greater economies of scale – after the initial investment the extra cost for each additional farmer is very low.

By bringing better knowledge of the latest agricultural techniques and of the local markets to more farmers, mobile training has the power to increase the quality and size of sesame harvests across Tanzania.  Farm Africa’s interventions have already more than doubled lead sesame farmers’ incomes between 2011 and 2014, and with more efficient training methods we hope that more farmers will be able to achieve such transformational gains.

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