News : Zimbabwe Launches Farmer Dial-in Service
Harare, Zimbabwe, June 19, 2015 -- Zimbabwe’s mobile network operator, Econet Wireless, has launched a new service that allows farmers to easily connect with agricultural research and extension officers for advice.
The 'Dial-A-Mudhumeni' service, was launched in partnership with the country's Ministry of Agriculture.
In a statement on Thursday, Econet said the service would assist farmers currently being forced to travel long distances to access critical information from agricultural extension officers, largely referred to as "mudhumeni".
"One of the many important insights we got is that farmers travel long distances just to get to an extension officer (mudhumeni). ‘Dial-A-Mudhumeni’ allows farmers to get real-time advice from specialists without having to leave their farms," Econet Services said.
"With agriculture being the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy, EcoFarmer plans to invest more into services that would support farmers, " Econet Services chief executive officer Jimmy Shindi said.
"EcoFarmer currently serves over 300,000 farmers in various ways, from providing weather and farming tips to cropping insurance," Shindi said.
He added that the company realised the central role played by farmers’ in the country's economy and that the Econet would play its part.
"We will be announcing more products on the EcoFarmer platform shortly, all of which are meant to support our farmers by increasing their food security and improving livelihoods," Shindi said.
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One of the challenges is that farmers wrongly price their produce, because they dont have reliable information.
"They are often prejudiced by unscrupulous traders who take advantage of the lack of information. With Dial-A-Mudhumeni, information on what is happening on the markets is now within easy reach for farmers," he said
Econet said the EcoFarmer platform had partnered stakeholders for Dial-A-Mudhumeni.
These include the Tobacco Research Board for tobacco advice, the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services for livestock and veterinary expertise and markets experts for tips.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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