Strategic partnership between the TRB and Eco-farmer “Empowering Growers to Maximize Tobacco Productivity”

• The TRB entered into a strategic partnership with Eco-farmer, an Econet Business Unit, to leverage technological advancement in ICT so as to bring value-added services, particularly focusing on extension services, to our tobacco growers.

• This initiative, which commenced last year, takes advantage of the various innovations taking place in the mobile agriculture and satellite weather services

• Currently, about 25 000 tobacco growers are able to receive advisory messages/tips on how to grow and attain higher yields and better quality tobacco. In addition, help desk was established at Kutsaga where growers can call 144 on their Econet lines between 8.00 am and 1.00 pm, Monday to Friday, and chat to a tobacco specialist for advices on tobacco related problems for a nominal call charge.

• We wish to upscale these advisory services to include the use of satellite data to predict impending events which impact on the environment, for instance, pest infestations and changes in weather conditions and then provide area specific real time advice to growers.