The country’s agriculture sector is set for a major transformation through a newly developed mobile application that allows farmers to respond more quickly to disease and pest outbreaks.
The outbreak of the fall armyworm in the country last year threatened to reduce crop yields for small holder farmers as many did not have information on how to mitigate on this invasion that affected much of Southern Africa.
While farmers made every effort to contain these armyworm like caterpillars, this outbreak highlighted information gaps that are a necessity for every farmer to be able to respond more quickly to future outbreaks.
Agriculture experts are already concerned over the prevailing ratio of one agricultural extension officer to over 50 farmers according to agriculture expert, Mr June Mutemeri.
The panacea to this disparity has been the creation of a mobile application by a local firm, Fossilagro that empowers farmers with up to date information on ways to rapidly respond to pest and disease outbreaks.
The harnessing of mobile technology in the country’s agriculture sector is expected to further improve the efficiency of development and to enhance monitoring and data collection mechanisms.
Such benefits will be critical to sustain gains achieved under the government’s command agriculture programme.