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New training app to support Tanzanian sesame farmers

International charity Farm Africa in collaboration with local partners Inades-Formation and Community Support Initiatives Tanzania (COSITA) has launched a programme to train sesame farmers in Tanzania to use smartphones loaded with training apps

According to the organisation, around 10,000 smallholder farmers in central Tanzania are set to benefit from the new technology, which is expected to help them increase their yields and profits.

The smartphones come with five training modules that 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.

The project allows farmers taking part in the project to buy the smartphones on credit and repay the money in instalments. It also gives them the option of training other farmers instead of making repayments. For example, by taking a fellow farmer through five training modules one farmer will deduct US$0.92 from his repayment schedule, and will receive an additional US$0.23 in cash – through mobile banking set up on his smartphone.

Mobile training is a more cost-effective method of reaching bigger numbers of farmers than demonstration plots as the latter require bigger investments of time and equipment for each farmer who attends the session, while former has the advantage of greater economies of scale – after the initial investment the extra cost for each additional farmer is very low.

Farm Africa believes that 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.