The Impact of Mobile Phones on Knowledge Access and Transfer of Small-Scale Horticultural Farmers in Tanzania

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Agriculture is the main economic activity in Tanzania and the country´s largest employer, providing livelihood for at least 80 % of the economically active population. Many studies have identified key challenges facing the sector for Africa in general – among these lack of access to knowledge. For agricultural producers, access to knowledge is important for an improved productivity and competitiveness. The fast diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) such as mobile phones across Africa in the last years has resulted in an improved access and transfer of agricultural knowledge. Studies have shown that rural actors like farmers in remote areas even use mobile phones for their farming business. Based on qualitative interviews in the Mwanza Region in northwestern Tanzania, this study aims to identify and categorize the different types of knowledge which are transferred via mobile phones. Our results show that mobile phones enlarge the ability of farmers to access business-relevant knowledge at an increasing spatial scale. However, the effects of the use depend on the type of knowledge and other factors. The results add to existing studies by deepening the understanding of the benefits of ICT on knowledge access and transfer for the context of rural small-scale framers in Tanzania.