Tanzania launches SMS system to guard against fake pesticides

The Tanzania Pesticides Research Institute will use digital verification to protect a new pesticide product as it rolls out on the market.

The verification technology – called T-Hakiki – will be provided by Tanzania Telecommunications Corp and will try to prevent widespread counterfeiting of agricultural chemicals in the East African country, estimated to account for 40 per cent of all seeds, fertilisers and pesticides sold there, according to an report.

The SMS-based scheme involves texting a serial number from the pesticide product to a dedicated number, free of charge. If the serial number is genuine and associated with the pesticide, it will be verified by return text.

Tanzania is very reliant on agriculture, which accounts for almost 27 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and it is a big producer of maize, cassava and sweet potatoes, as well as bananas, palm oil, sugar and cashew nuts.

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