Six agriculture-focused businesses and organizations have partnered on a digital platform that will help Tanzanian smallholder farmers access agricultural inputs, markets and finance.
The “MkulimaHub” is the product of Rotai Company in collaboration with BRITEN in the implementation of the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) program, a coalition of Yara, Syngenta, Rabobank, Bayer, World the Food Program (WFP) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).
The platform allows farmers to store data such as their farming activities, type of crops grown, farm size, as well as access to farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, etc. . It also helps farmers use finance and trade opportunities, including loans and insurance.
âThis platform connects small farmers of three to five hectares. We connect them with suppliers of inputs, fertilizers and financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, markets and crop buyers, âsaid Watson Simkoko, director of business development for MkulimaHub.
Use modern technologies
Mr. Simkoko pointed out that despite the large contribution of agriculture to GDP, small farmers earn less. But access to various services such as finance, marketing, extension services and professional advice also poses problems, reducing the likelihood of increasing the profits of their businesses.
âIt’s like a database of resources where farmers’ information is stored, and farmers and other stakeholders can easily access it. Information such as the names of the farmer, the quantity and type of crops he harvested, the size and location of the field, becomes available to other stakeholders, including potential buyers, institutions. financial and insurance companies, âsaid Mr. Simkoko.
Through the platform, farmers can also order inputs such as necessary fertilizers – and track their availability. The app also provides online and offline farming information to farmers, including weather reports. Currently there are 357 groups in Njombe, Rukwa and Katavi and the goal is to have 15,000 groups in total.
âNow, thanks to this system, we are working with farmers in groups – and not just with a single farmer. We train them and bring them together on one platform – and so far we already have groups in Njombe, Katavi and Rukwa regions. We have been investing in this system for over five years, âadded Mr. Simkoko.
In addition, he said that there is always an infrastructure and knowledge challenge on how to use modern technologies, as most of the farmers are illiterate and need help to use the platform. Farmers received tablets with the MkulimaHub app from the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA). MkulimaHub was first launched in Njombe, followed by Rukwa and Katavi.