Fides Nsingi, consultant with the World Vegetable Center, at Nane Nane in Tanzania.
In Tanzania, farmers are celebrated each year on Aug. 8 with the holiday — Nane Nane, meaning “Eight Eight.” In Arusha, this year’s holiday was marked with a week-long agricultural fair.
This fair is a great opportunity for Fides Nsingi, a consultant for the World Vegetable Center (also known as AVRDC), to share the AVRDC’s work — particularly the one project visitors are anxious to learn about: VegOneX.
Farmers and students took out their phones to snap a photo and save the important numbers of this unique marketing service, available because of a partnership between Farm Radio International and AVRDC.
In Tanzania the market price for vegetables regularly fluctuates and it often means farmers sell their produce at low prices.
VegOneX is an SMS and radio service to combat this problem. Farmers can listen to the local radio station, Radio 5, for price information. Or they can send a text message to a local number with the name of their crop and receive up-to-date information on the wholesale and retail prices. There is an optional service to leave a missed call and have the system call back with additional market trends and costs, including taxes.
“Everyone was interested on this project, everyone was surprised on how we do it and everyone was interested to keep it going,” Fides said.
Issa Selemani is a math and education student at Mount Meru University. Issa came to Nane Nane to learn more about farming and says he will use the VegOneX phone number — even though he’s not a farmer himself. “I am not producing anything, but it will be for my own benefit. I will be knowing, ‘Oh today, what is its price?'”
He also plans to share the number with his family so they are able to negotiate a fair price for their crops.
In the last three months, the service has been used 3,704 times. But moving forward Fides hopes VegOneX will expand — staying on the air in Arusha and broadening its reach to nearby regions.
“Most of the people who are coming here also ask, ‘Can you get prices from Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, and any other region? Why only Arusha?’ So we wish we can get funds and go wider around Tanzania,” said Fides.
Learn more about VegOneX here.