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a Topic : Smart Farming in Tanzania  
 

Recent development and dissemination of advanced technological tools at an affordable price have resulted in both large and small-scale farmers having new and more precise tools to produce more with less (Global Opportunity Report, 2016)

These Tools make the ...Click here to read more

     
 
Comments From TAKNET Members

Mussa Barnabas Mallaba  : Tuesday, September 06, 2016    
  There is epidemic of new agriculture entrants in recent years. As the employment opportunity diminishes, the situation forces young, smart energitic Tanzanians to search for alternatives. The simple and easy alternative always seem to be agriculture. The challenge is that they enter in agriculture with great fear of loosing than the desire of winning, lacking agriculture knowledge, with tons of examples of individuals who failed in agriculture. Having this group of uninformed and half hearted entrants leads to poor output.

I appreciate the concept of Smart farming, This Idea will be embraced quickly by youth and ambitious agribusinessmen. There are challenges but I believe there is solution to every challenge. We should not wait for Government and sponsors to promote this Idea. If everybody choose to be ambassador for changes in agricultural practices, we will reduce the burden to government and stimulate rural and urban development.

 
     

Oswald Mashindano (Moderator)  : Friday, August 19, 2016    
  Dear members and contributors! I am impressed with the issues and concerns  which members  have raised so far. At least most contributors acknowledge the power of Smart Farming and its significancy to Tanzania in terms of improving productivity, reducing poverty as well as the vagaries of climate change. Indeed, due to lack of adequate productivity enhancing factors such as fertilizer and the Early Generation Seeds (EGS), agricultural productivity in Tanzania has been very low and subsequently poverty still widespread especially in the rural areas. It is therefore a critical that famers in Tanzania adopt Smart Farming  if agriculture which employs most Tanzanians is to be transformed and make a meaningful impact.

However, there are also some bottlenecks which the discussion has underlined. The most critical one is the persistent barriers namely access to investment capital, marketing and limited skills and competencies among members of the farming communities in the country. This is serious challenge which threatens Smart Farming. Now, what could be a wi-win approach given this scenario or situation? In other words, how can Smart Farming be promoted in Tanzania and in the situation where there is limited capital, limited skills and competencies, limited markets and other inftrastructure? This is the opportunity which Tanzania must make use of despite the prevalence of barriers. But how should Tanzania go about it?
 
     

Joseph Kundy Majengo  : Friday, August 19, 2016    
  Where is the market please, we are engaging people in the same activities while the market remain the same. Who knows attrition rate in agricultural activities (difference between what you invested and what you get)  
     

Camillus D. N. Kassala  : Friday, August 19, 2016    
  1. Not motivating: To benefit from the fruits/harvests of farming one needs to give time to the crops/products to mature. This may take one month, several months or more. The question then is: Meanwhile, what should one to survive? what will motivate this young person to wait for the harvest time? In agriculture, things are not as instant as they are when one presses a button or swipes over the screen, and -Voila! - you see the results!

2. Not attractive: working conditions in agriculture are not attractive, unlike those found working in an office, or smart petrol station, etc. To create attractive working conditions will require creativity, technology and greenly clean space to suit the type of agribusiness being described!

3. Not appealing: So far there has not been a farmer who has come up in public to appeal to the youth! Only business people (in the common sense of the phrase) are the ones who appear often in the media to appeal to young people to become entrepreneurs! Who among the big farmers can stand up and share his/her story?

By way of concluding: what happened to Kilimo Kwanza? Has there been any evaluation? What lessons have learnt? What do these lessons mean for our youth to join agriculture?

Just thinking loud...............!

CDNKassala

 
     

Mirjean  : Thursday, August 18, 2016    
  Smart farming as a word is quite a fancy one but the implementation where farmers have no proper knowledge even of a regular maize farming will be a challenge to promote. Ideally the initiative should start from the extension agri officer who themselves lack also proper tools, lack of management and training.

Organisation like TAKNET with their network should facilitate such demo ( live working not only for show) farms in collaboration with private companies and individuals, the costs can be subsidised with an agreement of promoting the technology at least to 200 others. Ideally done under a village, sampling 5 low income generation families, we have a tendency KUIGA and the rest will happen.

Check all past trainings done under the Government, NGOs or donor countries where the funds and knowledge have been imparted, most of them died naturally after the budget gets exhausted.

To motivate the youths, the bottom line is making money. Financials and returns however small should show within the projects itself. Subsistence farming can alleviate hunger but not profitable financially. The idea of being a master in one or two field is very necessary to reduce costs and gain enough expertise in the agribusiness selected.

I tried aquaponics, very intensive and requires a certain type of expertise but no worth for fish production unless the project is huge. Cage farming requires a lot of environmental studies and proper monitoring from the government. India and other Asian countries have done very well just a matter emulating it.

 
     

Anold Masuki  : Tuesday, August 16, 2016    
  Smart farming in Tanzania will be greatest idea to improve the lives of farmers and youths. It is my advice to ministry of agriculture to use available experts to educate community on how they can be benefited from agriculture without degrade environment using smart farming approaches.

Also it is mandatory to have financial organisations that will provide financial assistance with ease conditioms to farmers so they can be able to invest in agro production using less cost smart techniques in farming.

 
     

Hosana Mpango  : Tuesday, August 16, 2016    
  Designing of appropriate interventions for making smart agriculture more attractive and rewarding to the younger generation requires a deep understanding of issues that discourage or limit the youth to venture into agriculture. For many years, there has been a popular perception among the youth that farming is an unrespectable job, only fit for the uneducated and those that have absolutely no any other employment option. To make matters even worse, limited farming skills, limited access to financial capital, increasing cost of modern agricultural inputs, and limited information on prices and marketing opportunities keep the youth even further away. Youth will be attracted to agriculture only if farming becomes both economically rewarding and intellectually stimulating. The presence of motivators and mentors to provide vivid examples and guidance on how profitable smart farming is will definitely attract more youth. Another way could be use of social media channels that are popular among youth (facebook, instagram, twitter, blogs etc) to promote smart farming by spreading knowledge. These activities need to go hand in hand with efforts by both the government as well as the private sector to address the mentioned challenges.  
     

Lisobe Pindu  : Monday, August 15, 2016    
  Tanzania depends basically on agriculture, which employs about 80 percent of her people and dominated by smallholder farmers. The agriculture in Tanzania is dependent mostly on rainfall which is affected by the climatic change leading to low production in many areas.

An advent of smart farming (Hydroponic system -fodder, Aquaponic system – vegetable, Azolla- animal feeds and bio-fertilizer etc) in Tanzania has brought new hope in the agricultural sector, taking into consideration smart farming does not depend on rainfall and artificial fertilizers.

In order to make smart farming sustainable and attract many especially youth, the authority concerned (e.g The Ministry of Agriculture) should think of ; reducing cost of smart farming accessories, provision of soft loans to small holder farmers, since most farmers and youth have no capital to start successful smart farming and reliable markets for perishable products such as tomatoes, pepper, bell peppers etc.

If the above issues are met, smart farming will be the door of success for Tanzanian farmers.

 
     

Joseph Nyampepela  : Friday, August 12, 2016    
  Smart farming is one of the best way to promote modern agriculture and Change of Mindset especially to Tanzanian Youth. For Most youth when you say the word "AGRICULTURE" they think about farming using Hand hoe only and it is for people in rural areas. While are many techniques / technologies are implemented on agriculture sector. I think smart farming will bring more opportunities to youth by engaging themselves in agriculture as well as to alter their mindset through self employment and entrepreneurship.

Also, its has been seen that more Youth are interested to do this but they don’t know where to start. I think the government should influence the agricultural institutions like Sokoine University to develop different capacity building programmes and give guidance on how to participate smart farming.

 
     

JAMES PAUL KASINDI  : Friday, August 12, 2016    
  In today's world where climate change is at its highly prevalence, a need for interventions in different areas of production is inevitable. A challenge in need for quality food with high yield has forced the world to rethink into more and modern adaptive ways of farming hence introduce smart farming.

These brilliant ideas brought forward above are really the solutions that have come at the right time to our community. Issues of animal feeds from hydroponic fodder and Azolla are really the interventions that when introduced to farmers will reduce of even phase out problems of nomad pastoral-ism at the same time avoid conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers as there will be reduced movements in search for pastures.

It is true that the produces from hydroponic fodder and Azolla are very nutritious in such a way that stimulates more produces from animals receiving these feeds.

these innovations need to reach both rural and urban farmers of Tanzania.

 
     

Margareth Nzuki (Moderator)  : Wednesday, August 10, 2016    
  Smart Farming in Tanzania

Recent development and dissemination of advanced technological tools at an affordable price have resulted in both large and small-scale farmers having new and more precise tools to produce more with less (Global Opportunity Report, 2016)

These Tools make the farming smarter by producing more with less, lead to increase productivity, profit as well as reduce the use of water, fertilizer and other farm inputs. As the price of inputs rising high, this seems to be a good solution.

Smart farming offers high-precision crop control, useful data collection, and automated farming techniques, smart farming includes; Drip irrigation, hydroponic systems, mobile based agricultural information, use of drones for crop management, wireless surveillance for crop management, smart animal feed ( Azolla, Hydroponic fodder etc), smart fish farming (Global Opportunity Report, 2016).

Smart farming is an opportunity for both in urban and rural areas. In urban areas, lack of of land is driving more and more urban farmers to produce food upwards on the side of buildings rather than outwards. Even today, urban agriculture produces 15 to 20 percent of the world's food supply and plays a major role in global food security (Global Opportunity Report, 2016).

There are several smart farming initiatives in Tanzania today. The Economic and Social Research Foundation in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have piloted the precision/smart farming in several districts. The interventions that ESRF and UNDP initiated include:

  • Interactive Mobile Platform – M-KILIMO

  • The Hydroponic System – Fodder

  • The Aquaponic System – Vegetables

  • Azolla- Animal feeds and bio-fertilizer and

  • Cage culture

(Read http://esrf.or.tz/docs/Miradi.pdf for more information about the above interventions.)

Promoting participation of people in smart farming and harnessing their energy and innovation represents an opportunity for increasing agricultural productivity, reducing rural poverty and improving household and national food security. Furthermore as the country is planning to transform its economy to industrial, agriculture remain to be the most important factor for its growth. People in the country can as well find a range of employment opportunities from smart farming that can be profitable and sustainable.

Against this background, this topic is set out to discuss and explore actions, strategies and plans to attract more people to participate into smart farming. Discussants should consider (but not limited to) issues such as;

  • The role of innovations (and technology) in increasing agricultural productivity, reducing rural poverty and attracting more people into agriculture

  • Available opportunities in smart farming for Tanzanians and how can they be harnessed?

  • How can we make smart farming more attractive to people and the youths in particular?

  • Many people are more interested on agribusiness, what can be done to make their dreams come true?

Moderators of this topic are: Dr. Oswald Mashindano, Mr. Abdallah Hassan, Mrs. Margareth Nzuki.

 
     

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