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IBM Presents Plan to Speed Timely Agricultural Information to Tanzanian Farmers

Wed, 10 Oct 2012 12:57:09 EST

IBM's pro bono consultation also recommends strategy to improve air travel, tourism and education

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - - A team of IBM (NYSE: IBM) experts today presented recommendations to the Tanzanian government for improving the timeliness and availability of information needed by farmers to grow crops more successfully, feed more people and become more economically sustainable.

IBM also suggested ways that information could be made more readily available for schools, leading to a more educated populace prepared for better paying jobs. In addition, the company presented a plan to improve the convenience of air travel in Tanzania, grow tourism and encourage investment.

The 12-person IBM team making today's recommendations, comprising individuals from five countries, was part of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, which sends consultants to provide pro bono assistance to government, non government and the private sector in emerging markets on matters that intersect business, technology and society.

The IBM team presented its analysis after spending 30 days on in-depth consultation with the private and public sectors, including Tanzania's Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Tanzania Horticultural Association, Tanzania Airports Authority, and Vocational Education and Training Authority.

IBM detailed a more automated and instantaneous framework in which farmers could use mobile phones to request and receive critical information via voice calls or text messages whenever needed. To do this, the Tanzania Horticultural Association could partner with mobile service providers so as to provide information ranging from pricing and weather data, to tips on techniques such as pesticide use. The result: better and more timely agricultural and economic decisions.

Such a system could overcome some of the challenges inhibiting the agricultural sector and Tanzania's economy. Tanzania has 44 million hectares of arable land but only 23% of it is used. Uneven investment in agricultural technology has lowered agricultural productivity. However, the government is implementing reforms to realize the National Development Vision 2025 and reduce poverty.

'These recommendations come at an opportune time, with the President of Tanzania having launched the "Kilimo Kwanza" campaign a couple of years ago to support the country's efforts to reach the National Development Vision 2025," said David Sawe, the Country General Manager, IBM Tanzania. He also predicted that any developments made in Small-Holder Agriculture will touch the lives of a majority of Tanzanians.

IBM's Corporate Service Corps team also presented a plan for the Tanzania Airports Authority to work more closely with the tourism industry and expand existing airports, enabling the country to better compete internationally.

In addition, the IBM team suggested ways in which information and communication technology can be used to improve the quantity, quality and ease of learning and teaching in Tanzania with a special focus on vocational training. These include the use of existing material from the internet and utilizing a range of communication technology to make educational information more readily available.

All of the projects undertaken during the engagement were coordinated by the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) under the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology together with the Digital Opportunity Trust.

IBM's Corporate Service Corps is a global, pro bono initiative designed to spur economic growth by providing problem-solving assistance to educational institutions, small businesses, non governmental organizations and governmental institutions mostly in emerging markets. The program gives them access to sophisticated expertise to help improve local conditions, enhance government services and foster job creation. Team members, who are among IBM's top talent, offer skills in areas that include information technology, research, marketing, finance, consulting, human resources and law.

Since the launch of the Corporate Service Corps in 2008, over 2,000 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries. Africa is a significant focus for the initiative. Since 2008, IBM's Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 500 IBM employees on 50 teams to South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. The team in Tanzania brings to exactly 100 the number of CSC consultants who have worked in Tanzania.

Follow IBM's Corporate Service Corps on the CitizenIBM blog at and on Twitter, at @citizenIBM.

Source: WebWire

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