The Coordinator of Research and Innovation from the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Ukiriguru Center Dr. Deusdedit Peter Mlay, has described the significance of AKILIMO App and how cassava farmers can use it to make informed decisions on the type and amount of fertilizer to apply in their fields to increase productivity. He revealed this to Hon. Anthony Peter Mavunde (MP) and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and invited guests who visited TARI Ukiriguru in Mwanza.
Explaining in front of Hon. Mavunde, he pointed out that in order to fulfill the demands of processing industries, farmers must produce more cassava. On top of that, have to follow good agricultural practices including proper fertilizer application to enhance plant nutrients, restoring soil fertility and increasing productivity.
According to Dr. Mlay, the AKILIMO App was designed to address the shortage of extension agents in the cassava value chain, as it was extremely difficult for them to reach a large number of farmers when disseminating farming technology and training them on how to improve their farms to earn a higher income due to their relative scarcity. Thus, AKILIMO App came in to support the critical function previously provided by EAs, particularly in assisting farmers get agronomic recommendations and advice.
The increase of AKILIMO App uses among cassava farmers contribute greatly in simplifying cassava growers’ lives as many of them are benefitting from this digital service where to a large extent has been increasing efficient in production. The App was developed by the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) to provide site-specific recommendations for best planting practices, intercropping and/or planting and harvest schedules.
“We advise farmers to use AKILIMO App because, although a farmer can get all agronomical recommendations and advices but also he/she will be able to know the quantity of yields achieved, since the App itself provides yield predictions”. Mlay said.
The App is available in the Google Play Store where farmers can access it freely. However, Hon. Anthony Mavunde, on the other hand, questioned if this App is also available on the Google App store to allow all smartphone users to download it.