Mobile Apps and SMS Revolutionize Decision-Making for Tanzanian Farmers and Herders

Hyderabad, India – The potential of mobile applications and SMS services to disseminate market information to farmers and herders in Tanzania promises a seismic shift in decision-making about when, where, and what to sell in markets.

This revelation was made by Dr. David Msimbe, the Veterinary Officer of the Chamwino Municipal Council, while presenting at a training workshop attended by representatives from 13 countries, including Tanzania, in Hyderabad, India. The training was sponsored by ITEC and held at the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE).

Discussing the supply chain and market accessibility in Tanzania, Dr. Msimbe emphasized how these communication tools would mitigate challenges associated with understanding the true dynamics of the market. He pointed out that many Tanzanian farmers face barriers accessing formal markets. The advent of mobile communication can significantly expand their market scope.

“Most of our farmers and herders rely on informal local markets where prices are low, and market information is scant. But with these communication tools, numerous market opportunities will become visible,” said Dr. Msimbe.

Furthermore, he stressed that this system could play a pivotal role in resolving challenges plaguing the agricultural and livestock sectors, thereby enhancing their opportunities. “This can be achieved by promoting partnerships between the public and private sectors,” he added.

Dr. Msimbe also noted that Tanzania already collaborates with the private sector to invest in supply chain infrastructure like warehouses, transportation, and markets. Integrating financial services and digital investments will further strengthen the market structure.

Commenting on infrastructure developments, Dr. Msimbe said ongoing investments in rural road networks and transport infrastructure would reduce transportation costs, allowing farmers and herders more straightforward market access. “Tanzania has immense potential for exports, especially for high-value crops like horticulture, spices, and coffee. Improved supply chain infrastructure and adherence to quality standards open doors to international markets,” he emphasized.

Dr. Msimbe informed the training attendees that the Government of Tanzania has clearly laid out its agenda and priorities for transformations in agriculture and livestock across several long-term and sectoral strategies. These include the Five-Year Development Plan III (FYDP III), Pathways for Sustainable Food Systems 2030, and the 10/30 Agenda (ADBG, 2023).

In collaboration with financial institutions like the Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) and CRDB, the government has launched funding programs for agriculture and livestock, aiming to provide farmers and herders with access to loans and financial services.