Lead farmers have overjoyed the functionality of the VIAMO service in accessing various AKILIMO recommendations noting that it is good and easy to use and they pledged to train their fellow farmers to increase efficiency in cassava production.
This came after training on good agronomical practices organized by the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) in villages of Chitekete, Lengo, and Makukwe in Mtwara in November 2021, where five groups of more than 80 farmers attended the session.
Lead farmers are farmers selected to train other farmers and represent them in various agricultural development activities. The great expectation is to see they are going to play a key role in disseminating the AKILIMO knowledge to their fellow farmers.
The training program was designed for building capacities of lead farmers by familiarizing them with VIAMO and Arifu chart board to get several important information about cassava. To keep farmers understanding well, the ACAI team demonstrated to them practically about these platforms at their farms.
With a great focus on sustaining the use of AKILIMO in Tanzania, the ACAI project in collaboration with digital partners improved this service to enable cassava growers to get agronomical recommendations through interactive voice messages using their mobile phones. According to them, the beauty of VIAMO is that it can provide services not only for smartphone users but also for others who use normal mobile phones.
Previously farmers used more paper-based as a way of getting AKILIMO recommendations. However, now AKILIMO tools are available in a wide variety of formats includes AKILIMO App, Arifu chart board, and VIAMO.
Currently, the VIAMO service in Tanzania is functioning well and the farmers now have access to it particularly Vodacom subscribers who dial 0901760321 to get recommendations. The great efforts are still in process to make VIAMO services accessible to all mobile networks so that to reach a large number of farmers easily.
AKILIMO offers a suite of tools and materials for cassava growers, extension workers, and organizations that promote improved cassava cultivation practices. With AKILIMO knowledge makes cassava growers adhere to good agricultural practices includes good land preparation, weed management, spacing (1Metre to 1Metre), fertilizer application, and intercropping cassava with sweet potato.