PlantVillage's Dream Team Spreads Wings to Tanzania

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PlantVillage, in partnership with the Tanzania Development Trust and Mboni ya Vijana Organization, has expanded its activities to include young people from Tanzania as the organization gears up its initiative to reach out to smallholder farmers from marginalized areas in Africa.

The young men and women from the East African country, led by their coordinator, Benedicto Hosea, have already concluded the mandatory training required of a Dream Team member, and they are embarking on a full-fledged service to Tanzanian farmers.

The training, which was cordinated by Kenyan leads Mercylyne Tsuma and Bismarck Plimo, was conducted at Mboni ya Vijana Zeze Camp in Kasulu Disrict of Kigoma and included a week-long indoctrination through the organization's structure, the role of a Dream Team member and what is required of them to service farmers. 

The Tanzania Dream Team members.

The five male and five female young graduates (with a background in Agriculture) also went through another week of field practice using the PlantVillage Nuru app to do surveys and scan for crop diseases such as Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), pest damage (CGD), fall armyworm damage on maize, and diagnosis for other crops.

"We also learnt how to use FAO-FAMEWS to collect data on maize and scout the field in order to know the affected plants and provide education to farmers like the usage of good seeds for better agricultural results, apart from how to use ODK-tools for data collection on survey fields and help to store information for further usage," said Juliana Mohamed, one of the Dream Team members.

Some of the Tanzania Dream Team members being trained on the use of the PlantVillage Nuru app to diagnose crop diseases by Kenyan lead Mercylyne Tsuma.

The team, which is made up of energetic members, has expressed great excitement about their new role of service to farmers.

"My expectation is that farmers will abandon their traditional farming practices, farm management, disease and pest identification and control methods, planting material selection, and so on as a result of the knowledge I will disseminate to them and the support I will provide. Thus, I believe working with them will be helpful in improving their yields, " January Laurian said.

Kenyan lead Mercylyne Tsuma majestically leads the Tanzania Dream Team to the field for a training session on how to use the PlantVillage Nuru app.

The new officers will be visiting farmers in Makere, Rungwe Mpya, Kitagata, Rungwe, Rusesa and Nyamidaho wards of Kasulu District in Kigoma.

The Dream Team is an agricultural unit that absorbs young graduates with different skills from universities across the world to fit in and come up with solutions for small-holder farmers to help curb the effects of climate change that are affecting food production.

- Written by Sam Oduor

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