Reaching farmers in Zambia

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It is challenging to disseminate information across far-flung areas of rural Zambia as extension officers must travel vast distances to reach farmers. The Southern Africa Accelerated Innovation Delivery Initiative (AID-I) MasAgro Africa Rapid Delivery Hub, managed by CIMMYT and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) helps alleviate these issues by engaging with existing mobile phone networks to reach farmers with agronomic information, weather data, and soil information.

To introduce farmers to these specific tools: BACKFEED and VIAMO, AID-I conducted a community sensitization and engagement exercise in Zambia. BACKFEED emphasizes farmer learning and feedback using mobile phones for disseminating knowledge about the new generation of drought-tolerant varieties, sustainable intensification practices, and collecting farmer feedback to enable demand-driven delivery under AID-I. VIAMO, accessible via a basic mobile phone, provides agronomic information for every farmer in a specific area. The platform comes in different languages and farmers access information on various crops such as maize, beans, and groundnuts in their native language, provide feedback on information content, and connect with other farmers.

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