Wednesday, 08 October 2014
Illovo Sugar Ltd


COLLECTING information about Kilombero’s sugar cane outgrowers just got a whole lot easier! Gone are the days of lugging around reams of paper surveys, incomplete or inaccurate data collection and countless mistakes in the data entry process. Thanks to an investment from Solidaridad, an international organisation dedicated to creating sustainable supply chains for impoverished farmers, Kilombero Community Charitable Trust (KCCT) is using new technology to deliver the Farmers Support Programme with local outgrowers. One of the project’s activities includes the use of technology to provide skills development and knowledge transfer to sugar cane outgrowers. KCCT, with support from Agronomy Technology, trained government extension officers to administer training needs assessments to 867 outgrowers on Samsung Galaxy Tab3 devices. This will enable KCCT to gain a greater understanding of the practical needs of smallholder farmers, and how the Trust can go about equipping them with the skills necessary to improve their yields and enhance their business acumen. The surveys are automatically uploaded via the internet to a central database, and inform the administrator of the GPS coordinates where the survey took place. The tablets can also be used to map and measure cane growers’ fields using GPS technology. Future trainings are planned to utilise the tablets for in-field trainings and demonstrations with outgrowers, including videos and presentations. In the long term, it is expected that each cane grower association participating in the capacity building project will have its own tablet to access relevant and time-sensitive information, such as weather updates and the daily cane crushing schedule.

FROM left: Athanas Ibrahim (Msolwa Ujama extension officer), Shaib Salehe Mhala (Outgrower farmer) and Joanna Shackleton (KCCTmanager) use a tablet to conduct a farmer’s needs assessment questionnaire, as part of the outgrowers capacity building project, funded by Solidaridad.



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