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McKnight Foundation’s agro-ecology project

Posted on October, 11, 2018 at 10:41 am


An agro-ecological farming system which utilizes traditional pesticide has enabled smallholder farmers in Singida region boost production, improve soil fertility while raising household incomes.

ActionAid Tanzanian’s Livelihood and Local Right Program Manager, Elias Mtinda said under Singida Nutrition and Agro-ecology Project (SNAP) with funding from US based McKnight Foundation, smallholder farmers in Singida region are better off with assured food security.

“McKnight  Foundation donated U$ 224,000 to ActionAid Tanzania for the implementation of the project which has changing lives for better but also protects the environment,”  Mtinda said  while pointing out that main goals of the project were to promote agro-ecology, gender equality, promote food security and enhance women’s role at household and community level.

He said under the project, smallholder farmers in the region were trained on how to employ agro-ecological practices in the farming activities by experts during the five-year period.

The farmers were also training on how to make traditional pesticide to control pests from destroying the crops while practicing intercropping with legumes planted with other crops to add nutrients to the soil.

“We give them legume seeds such as pigeon peas, cowpeas, groundnuts, beans and soybeans so that can intercrop with other crops such as maize to improve soil fertility and increase yield hence improving incomes and food insecurity,” Mtinda noted.

The farmers were also trained in legume processing and utilisation as sources of vital and nutrients for children and the elderly.

“Right now nutrient status of children in Singida region has greatly improved due to legume enriched diets,” the Program Manager noted. The agro-ecology project has also allowed smallholder farmers to refrain from using artificial pesticide hence reduce production costs.

Women farmers are now aware of their rights roles and responsibilities at family level especially in ensuring that their contribution is recognised.

One of the beneficiaries of the project, Johari Kimi from Kibaoni Village in Singida District expressed appreciation to the sponsors and experts who built their capacity to become efficiency and focused farmers.

“This project has not only improved our incomes at household level but also boosted yields while protecting the environment,” Kimi noted.  She acknowledged receiving very important skills and knowledge on agro-ecology from ActionAid Tanzania experts.

“But this project also  sensitized us on gender equality, broadened skill on how to generate income through processing legumes and utilise them at household level,” she added.

According to McKnight Foundation, the project in Singida was aimed at peer mentoring farmers on agro-ecological farming practices, improved infant and young child feeding practices, and gender equality. Expected outcomes include: Improved agricultural output, especially legume yields, household food security, and infant diet.

 

Source: IPP Media