Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Econet launches mobile extension service

Econet launches mobile extension service

Econet-WirelessMobile telecommunications firm Econet Wireless last Friday launched a service that allows farmers to access extension services from experts through the phone.

Dubbed “Dial-a-Mudhumuni”, the service has been launched in conjunction with four organisations — the Department of Veterinary Services, the Tobacco Research Board, Department of Livestock and Mubatsiri, a firm that specialises in produce marketing services, to provide the expert service to farmers.

“One of the many important insights we got is that farmers travel long distances just to get to an extension officer (mudhumeni). “Dial-a-Mudhumeni” allows farmers to get real time advice from specialists without having to leave their farms,” said Econet Services chief executive officer Dr Jimmy Shindi.

“All a farmer needs to do is dial 144 to access the EcoFarmer call centre. They will then be routed to any of the three specialist services available, namely agricultural marketing advisers, livestock specialists and tobacco experts.”

The expansion of services by Econet is a move aimed at diversifying its revenue base given a decline in the use of calling services and short message services which used to be its cash cow.

“Dial-a-Mudhumeni” is an extension of EcoFarmer, a short messaging services launched by Econet in 2013 which is currently serving over 300 000 farmers with information on weather, farming tips and cropping insurance.

The service, which will be charged at $0,30 per minute, also allows farmers to get the latest information on market prices.

“Because they have nobody reliable to ask, a lot of our farmers wrongly price their produce. They are often prejudiced by unscrupulous traders who take advantage of the lack of information. With Dial-a-Mudhumeni, information on what is happening on the markets is now within easy reach for farmers,” Dr Shindi said. — New Ziana.


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