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MSc Thesis topic: Evaluation of the Maize-Nutrient-Manager advisory app for smallholder farmers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania

Published on
November 22, 2019

Maize is a major staple crop in Tanzania, and for many smallholder farmers in the southern Highlands also a cash earner. Yet, farmer investment in fertiliser is generally limited, while prevailing agronomic management practices may limit its efficient use...

Maize is a major staple crop in Tanzania, and for many smallholder farmers in the southern Highlands also a cash earner. Yet, farmer investment in fertiliser is generally limited, while prevailing agronomic management practices may limit its efficient use. Consequently, yields are generally much lower than what they potentially could be. Mobile phone technologies are often seen as an opportunity to reach large numbers of smallholder farmers with agronomic advisory that is better tailored to the smallholder farmers’ circumstances, even in remote rural areas where internet connectivity is absent. 

In November 2019, more than 30 extension workers in the Mbozi and Momba districts (Songwe region) of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, were equipped with the Maize-Nutrient-Manager app on a mobile phoneto provide field-specific nutrient management advice to smallholder maize farmers. This will result in hundreds of smallholder farmers receiving advice on how to improve the efficient use of the fertiliser they use on their maize crop: what types to use, when and how to apply it, etc. 

To evaluate the Maize-Nutrient-Management advice app, the performance of advised farmers’ maize crop has to be compared with a random sample of farmers who did not receive any advice. We are therefore looking for an enthusiastic and independent MSc student who would like to interview these two groups of farmers. The findings will be used to improve the app.

Geographical focus: Southern Highlands, Tanzania.

Objective: To evaluate a recently developed mobile phone app for nutrient management advice. 

Type of work: Fieldwork including interviews with farmers (and agricultural extension workers), data analyses

                                      

Chair group: Plant Production Systems       Period: March-August 2020

Note: This work could be conducted as an MSc thesis project or an internship (both in collaboration with CIMMYT. The fieldwork will be conducted in collaboration with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute at Uyole). Not a necessity, but it is a great advantage if you speak Swahili.

Supervisors

Jens Andersson                       j.andersson@cgiar.org

/ jens.andersson@wur.nl

Renske Hijbeek                       renske.hijbeek@wur.nl