ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) – Beef Enterprise and Transformation (BEST) Project has spear headed the development of a mobile application called “Kurima Mari/Ukulima Imali” to assist large-scale commercial and small-scale beef producers with information on best practices in beef production.
ZAGP is a response to tackle the challenges facing the livestock sector in Zimbabwe through financial support from the European Union (EU) amounting to €40 million (US$ 4,5092,800)
The mobile app has six core components that include the beef information centre, health advisor, marketing, farmers chatroom, beef production economics and the beef calendar.
The beef information centre provides precise details on all the basic information one may need when venturing into beef production, value chain and different breeds in the market. The health advisor provides the farmer with detailed information on infectious diseases, parasitic diseases and nutritional disorders.
The Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) communications officer, Ntandoyenkosi Ngwenya, said the app will not only benefit farmers locally but globally as it is accessible digitally.
“We are developing these mobile apps with the drive to enhance the cascading of value chain specific information to farmers because we strongly believe that digital information comes in handy in terms of easily spreading information to intended beneficiaries,” he said.
He added that the app interconnects all farmers within the beef value chain locally, regionally and globally.
“We are also moving with the mantra ‘digital innovations for zero hunger’ as we are hoping that these innovations will promote good animal husbandry practice around the beef value chain,” he said.
Among other elements the marketing pillar gives the farmer extensive information that ensures one gets maximum returns on beef production investment. It covers various topics like marketing costs, marketing channels, tips when selling cattle amongst others.
The farmers chatroom on the other hand connects small scale farmers and commercial beef farmers in real time in order to share ideas, business and network together.
The beef production economics gives simplified and expert insight on beef production from a financial perspective. It takes complex numbers in finance and economics and simplifies them to make everyone in the industry understand the dynamics of beef production.
The beef calendar presents a detailed account of activities the farmer needs to take note of every month of the calendar year as a beef farmer.
This complements government efforts to use ICTs in improving production and service delivery in different facets of the economy.
The BEST project is being implemented in five provinces of Zimbabwe. The project seeks to create a robust, competitive beef value chain that promotes enhanced trade, employment creation, food security, and inclusive green economic growth by 2023 for 25,000 small to medium as well as commercial cattle farmers.