Last updated: July 25th, 2019.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has developed a technology for tracking better seeds for crops across the country by using a mobile application system that ensures timely delivery of seed to farmers.
Known as SeedTracker, offers the most cost-effective tool for seed marketing but also provides real-time information on seed variety, quantity, and availability.
Research associate at IITA, Juma Yabeja during in an exclusive interview with us he said that the technology has been developed by the institute in collaboration with the Tanzania Official Seed Certification (TOSCI) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).
Yabeja said the technology will also help to remove unscrupulous seed companies that traded on profit maximization by using low standard seeds.
He said through the technology, farmers will be able to access the contacts and details of seed producers from any point in the country by using the coordinates of the map.
“All seed producers who have been listed in the technology have being
certified and registered by the state owned seed certification institute
Tanzania Official Seed Certification
(TOSCI),” he said.
According to the researcher, it is therefore expected that, once Seed Tracker is scaled out and becomes widely used by farmers and extension officers, it will expedite access to high-quality seed by farmers which will increase productivity and result in improved farmer incomes and livelihoods.
Yabeja added that they have started a pilot study for six months that was implemented in Lake Zone, coastal zone and in the southern zone, under 107 farms.
“We have decided to use the small and medium enterprises to take lead in the production of the seeds, mainly to empower them economically, rather than using foreign companies in the project,” he explained.
“So far, the project covers several varieties of cassava seeds including Mkombozi, chereko, Mkuranga and Kiroba,” he added.
According to Yabeja, the technology can help seed producers to greatly enhance the scale and the geographical reach of their cassava seed marketing, and likewise, it can enable existing and potential cassava growers to access the high quality certified seed.
“Furthermore, we will open up opportunities for mapping other Root, Tuber and Banana (RTB) crops as well as seed crops, such as maize, beans, and cotton,” he said.
More than 80% of Tanzania’s working population is involved in farming. We, therefore, think that Seed Tracker can ultimately have a transformative impact on tens of millions of people in the country.