Farmers at the mercy of marketing woes: experts

Tanzanian farmers are contending with non-transparent marketing and pricing systems, making them unable to negotiate.

According to experts on Information Communication Technology (ICT) working under Masoko Challenge project, there is a lack of price transparency in the food supply chain, leading to inability of farmers and buyers to negotiate fairly.

Speaking at the launch of an ICT competition for young programmers at the Commission for Science and Technology Tanzania premises in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, Masoko Challenge project coordinator Sam Steyer said that the competition was part of a process to solve those problems.

Mr Steyer said the competition was geared to have the best software in either mobile applications or any other electronic means that would increase transparency in fixing crop prices.

“Crops are seasonal and their seasonality depends on region and weather. During low season, in a market where a crop is scarce, the crop fetches high price. During high season, in a market where crop is plenty, the crop fetches low price.

With the use of well designed software farmers and buyers can benefit from knowing when and where prices are high and low for specific crops,” he said.

According to him, the goal of the competition is to increase transaction transparency along the food value chain in the country.

That can be done by focusing on finding an innovative and reliable way of collecting crop price information from markets and finding innovative and user friendly ways to share price information from markets with individuals along the supply chain.

TanzICT innovation manager Jumanne Mtambalike said the contest would be open to all ICT experts.

in East Africa and their entries would be due on June 29 this year. When designing their software, contestants have to bear in mind that there is a lack of proper system of collecting and they should find way of storing data reliably and accurately.

“We need to find fun, efficient, and user-friendly software for data collection throughout Tanzania,” he said.

He insisted that the second challenge is information on prices. This is important because there is a need to find out user-friendly, accurate and useful ways of sharing crop data base with Tanzanians.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni in Dar es Salaam
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