The role of digital technologies and partnerships to support Tanzanian smallholder farmers needs

By David Wozemba ~ Deputy Director Gatsby Africa on 15 Apr 2020Insight


I was privileged to join a plenary of five panellists to give overview of agriculture in Tanzania and CTDP’s role in promoting the sector and how innovation can be used to address many challenges the sector faces.


Vodacom Tanzania was the main sponsor of this year’s Innovation Week (IW2020) coordinated by HDIF and COSTECH which commenced on the 8th through the 20th March 2020 in Dar es Salaam and in five other regions. This was the 6th Innovation Week and is themed Innovation for Impact. During the discussion, I was able to bring across important attributes that differentiate GA from other partners – user centred design of the digital system (partnerships and incentives). Globally we have seen innovative models that link input provision to end markets and thereby improved access to finance is mobilised (by off-takers and financial institutions).


Cotton & Textiles Development Programme (CTDP), in close partnership with the Simiyu Regional Government, has developed a flagship digital technology through the Kilimo Maendeleo Platform. This initiative tests and proves the role of digital technologies and partnerships to unlock challenges faced by cotton farmers in the Lake Zone. The basic elements of the strategy highlight the need for farmer profiling to attract a host of private sector partners to increase the level of investment at the farm. Improved access to finance will lead to a positive domino-effect that sustainably increase farmer yields and incomes


New systems for distribution of inputs based on technology solutions to the challenges of stock control, aggregating orders, optimising supply routes and quality control can provide a huge boost to efficiency of business coordination, information flows and hence to costs of supply. However, these solutions still require rural entrepreneurs to exist in the first place and need to address the precise needs of businesses at the current stage in their evolution.


We at CTDP have invested in a number of Human-Centred Design studies over the last 5 years, which have helped our team to understand the complex circumstances of smallholders, agro-dealers and input suppliers in order to better respond to what different actors need from the market system. As a result, we have partnered with two different commercial partners with digital platforms that capture data from agro-dealers or from farmer groups and which provide excellent datasets for finance and other business service providers to make investment decisions, as well as helping to provide feedback to these networks on their relative strengths, enabling tailored advice to optimise their performance.


By David Wozemba ~ Deputy Director Gatsby