COVID-19 affecting SIKIA project

By | 2020, SIKIA

Dear Friends of SIKIA,

We hope you and your families are staying healthy in the current outbreak of the Corona virus. A lot of things have changed very rapidly in the last month: government restrictions put limitations on group activities, people need to stay home as much as possible and keep a safe distance from other people at work and in the communities.

These restrictions do not apply only in Tanzania, but in the whole world. It greatly hampers our work and the way we are implementing our project with you. Field activities are reduced drastically which makes in-field interaction with rice farmers challenging. Nevertheless, the innovative and digital character of SIKIA allows us to continue to work on the project remotely. The rice growth maps are still accessible through the online SAF while agronomic advice continuous to be send by SMS to those who have registered themselves.

Stay safe and healthy and we hope to see you soon!

SIKIA demonstrated at the Innovation Week in Dar es Salaam

By | 2020, SIKIA

The SIKIA team was invited by the Dutch Embassy to demonstrate its product and services at the “House of the Future” at Innovation Week in Dar es Salaam.

Local representatives from Kilimo Trust and Milan Innovincy showcased SIKIA to a great number of visitors. A digital demonstration of our online IT platform called ‘SAF’ was given. The data is based on geodata, remote sensing data and field data and has been analyzed and converted into near-realtime rice maps throughout various stages of the growth season.

Both Dutch and Tanzanian businesses, government institutions and knowledge institutes visited the SIKIA stand which resulted in a fruitful interactive exhibition. The Innovation week went well as It brought some valuable connections and enabled us to increase awareness on SIKIA.

Registration, registration, registration continues

By | 2019, SIKIA

Interactive communication between farmers and SIKIA is a continuous activity in the SIKIA project. We invite farmers to enroll to our agronomic advisory service by responding to SIKIA’s USSD service number: *149*50*51#. In addition, a total of 18 extension officers and farmer group leaders were trained on the dissemination of SIKIA USSD survey while Kilimo Trust disseminated 2,000 SIKIA project leaflets with the USSD Code *149*50*51#.

The increased emphasis on informing farmers on how and why to register to SIKIA resulted early 2020 into a database of 20,000 registered farmer profiles! Farmers are receiving twice per week localized weather forecasts.

Are you interested in receiving agronomic advice on your phone? Or do you know rice farmers in Mbeya who could benefit from such information? Then help us reach them by sharing SIKIA’s USSD service number: *149*50*51#.

Near-realtime crop maps

By | 2019, SIKIA

SIKIA succeeded in the delivery of rice growth stages maps which are updated every 6 days. This means that rice agribusinesses can have access to near-realtime crop information. This makes the SAF more interactive.

Would you like to find out how this could work out for your organization? Then register now for a free trial of SIKIA’s online information platform.

Farmer engagement at demonstration plots

By | 2019, SIKIA

Farmer engagement is a key element of the SIKIA project. Our partner Kilimo Trust spent numerous hours with local rice farmers conducting GAP training at four demonstration plots:

Makwale scheme (Kyela), Kisegese scheme (Busokelo) and Kasyabone scheme (Busokelo).

Establishment of demo plots was done in collaboration with extension officers of the respective rice schemes and the selected farmers whose fields were used to demonstrate the best agronomic and harvesting practices. Farming operations such as land preparation (ploughing), weeding, fertilizer application, water management, bird scaring and harvesting was done by lead farmers and Kilimo Trust advised on leveling, transplanting and inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, insecticides and fungicide as well as cost of demonstrating harvesting technologies.

Do you want to know where farmers are based, what kind of variety they are growing and when their harvest is expected without having to leave your office? Then register now for a free trial of SIKIA’s online information platform.

We welcome our first Digital Service Agent (DSA)!

By | 2019, SIKIA

Early 2019 the SIKIA team followed up on the agribusiness workshop held in November 2018 by putting an increased focus on the engagement and registration of agribusinesses. We hired a Digital Service Agent (DSA) stationed in Mbeya, Mr. Allen Charles. Allen visited ca. 300 agribusinesses and presented them with the unique features of the SAF.

Agribusinesses responded positively and actively requested for own access to the SAF to start working with it themselves. Already more than 200 agribusinesses registered for the SAF and have been given access to the SAF on a trial basis.

Are you an agribusiness active in the rice sector in the SAGCOT area? And do you also want to receive the benefits of the SIKIA project? Then register now for a free trial of SIKIA’s information service.

SIKIA’s first rice agribusiness workshop in Mbeya

By | 2017, SIKIA

On 30 November 2017, the SIKIA team organized the first agribusiness workshop at the GR Hotel in Mbeya.

The workshop was attended by different groups of actors of the rice value chain such as farmers, input suppliers, processors, traders, credit service providers, extension officers and other partners such as representatives from radio stations, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) and government officials.

During the workshop, the SIKIA project was explained in detail and participants were requested to think along and decide for themselves how they could benefit from the information services. It was the first time SIKIA was presented in such a large setting for this kind of audience. The workshop has proven to be effective as it created awareness for the project and its services and agribusinesses’ user requirements became more clear which have been followed up on by integrating them in the development of SIKIA’s information services.

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SIKIA makes its debut on live radio!

By | 2018, SIKIA

During the rice growth season, farmers receive relevant information tailored on the specific growth stage via radio such as weather information and good agricultural practices. Based on such information, farmers are supported in making better decisions on possible interventions (e.g. weeding, irrigation, fertilizer application) for reaching higher yields.

SIKIA’s first weekly live radio broadcast was aired on 24 July on Bomba FM. The project team prepared material for the radio station and local extension officer who both covered the first topic ‘Land preparation’. During the interactive radio broadcast listeners were encouraged to participate by asking questions to the local extension officer and invited to join SIKIA’s information service by responding to SIKIA’s USSD service number: *149*50*51#. Once registered through this number, farmers receive twice per week localized weather forecasts on their phones.

Click here to listen to SIKIA’s first radio broadcast.

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