Dodoma — THE Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has officially started offering mobile weather services, which among other things assist fishermen monitor weather conditions in the water bodies, the House heard.
The deputy minister for transportation, Dr Charles Tizeba, said the government was taking the measure to reduce accidents and enable fishermen and other people to carry on with their activities in lakes safely. Dr Tizeba said the government was collaborating with other stakeholders including mobile phone companies to offer the services and the programme was already being tested in some parts of the country.
"The programme became operational in May 2012. TMA in collaboration with other stakeholders is currently providing weather services through mobile phones," said Dr Tizeba. He added that TMA was working closely with two local companies -- Starfish Mobile and Vodacom Tanzania to put the programme in place.
The deputy minister also added that TMA was finalizing procedures to enter into a contract with MIC Tanzania Limited, which owns Tigo and TechnoService so as to increase the range of communication among Tanzanians.
Dr Tizeba was responding to Ms Mkiwa Kimwaga (Special Seats-CUF) who wanted to know what the government was doing to help fishermen understand weather changes before going to sea. She said the government had to initiate programmes that will certify fishermen's safety and enable them to attend their activities with no worries.
The deputy minister added that TMA was on an early stage to implement the project, which is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). He added: "The project aims at circulating weather information in various parts of the world."
According to Dr Tizeba, the project was currently implemented in Uganda while Tanzania and Kenya were in the early stages, and that Kiswahili is expected to be the official language in the project. "The project will be implemented in various islands in Lake Victoria, we will extend wings to the sea after evaluating its performance," said Dr Tizeba.