ZIMBABWE’s third mobile phone operator, Telecel has launched an Information Communications Technology (ICT) package called Farmer’s Club specifically tailored for the agricultural sector, Techunzipped has established.
One of the key characteristics of the package are farming tips, latest farming news, market prices and daily weather update services for small holder farmers, among other features.
The new service aims to boost agricultural yield in Zimbabwe, help inform farmers during drought periods and inform them about markets for their crops. It could become vital for agronomic planning purposes, as it also serves as a conduit for weather information.
Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector was devastated by a hit-or-miss land reform that the country embarked upon in late 90s. The agricultural reform displaced productive commercial white farmers who reinforced the sector with their high yields. Before the productivity decline, the country also exported surplus produce to its neighbours like Zambia and Mozambique. Today, Zimbabwe is now importing maize from Zambia, where the majority of the Zimbabwean white farmers ran too. The unemployment rate hovers around 80 percent and the rural populace is mostly impoverished.
Under the Farmer’s Club, Telecel customers can subscribe for $1 for 300 minutes which is valid for a 30 days, $0.35 for 80 minutes valid for 7 days or $0.10 for 15 valid for 24 hours.
To subscribe to Farmer’s Club simply dial 551 and start getting farming tips and market information.
Zimbabwe is desperate to restore her breadbasket status in the region, Telecel’s decision to invest in agriculture via Farmer’s Club is seen as a contributing factor to the country’s bid to boost its economy.