FARMERS in Kongwa district, Dodoma region may soon reap benefits in agronomical practices, thanks to the ambitious three-year project implemented by Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development in collaboration with like-minded stakeholders.
For years the farmers within the district have been battling with severe effects of soil erosion, as well as other environmental challenges which triggered soil infertility, loss of soil moisture as well as seed wastage, among others.
Dubbed ‘Enabling a resilient and prosperous community through participatory agroecological practices in Semi-Arid region of Central zone’, the robust project is set to benefit more than 350 farmers from eight villages in the district.
The villages include Laikala A and B, Sagara A and B, Mlali-Iyegu, Nghumbi, Lengaji and Moleti. With kind financial support from Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, the project is being implemented collaboratively between the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), LEAD Foundation as well as Kongwa municipality.
In an interview with the Daily News, the Coordinator for Research and Innovation at TARI Makutupora center, Elirehema Swai, said the project aims at achieving some key agricultural matters. “The parameters include farmer’s productivity and livelihoods, environmental conservation, as well as the adoption of better agronomic practices,” he expressed.
He said throughout the project, farmers will be imparted with modern methods to cheat soil erosion, but also on rainwater harvesting, preservation of soil moisture, and fertility. “Basically we will train them on how to create the Fanya Juu and Fanya Chini agro technique which involves the use of terraces on-farm/land so as to improve water availability for plants and prevent soil erosion,” he detailed.
Mr. Swai insisted that rainwater harvesting was crucial for the farmers because the district was receiving low rain averages, from 400 and 500mm. Giving more details, he said Fanya Juu means putting soil on the upper side of the slope, adding: “This prevents rainwater from outside the farm to flow into the farm, hence preventing soil erosion by protecting the fertile soil in the farm from flowing away.”
Basically, Mr Swai said the initiative targets to combat hunger and poverty, and is committed to the dissemination and application of ecological methods that sustainably improve livelihoods among the farmers through improved yield, while on the other side conserving the environment,” he stated.