Tanzania: Ecological Practices Cited As Ideal for Country’s Food Security

FARMERS have been advised to effectively apply agro-ecological practices to assure high productivity, hence assuring the country food security.

The agroecology is the ‘ecology of the food system and farming approach that is inspired by natural ecosystems.

The practices include intercropping, mulching, use of cover crops.

Agro-forestry, integration of landscape into agriculture fields, use of cattle manure, use of compost and use of poultry manure.

Others are use of pig manure, goat manure, green manure, diversification, crop and livestock integration, use of peasant seeds and crop rotation, among others.

The advice was offered by the two organisations of Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) and Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) which advocate for organic farming.

This is from the fact that climate change has affected rains patterns; with recent weather report issued by the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) indicating that many parts of the country would experience below-normal-to-normal rainfall, a situation which would affect crop production.

TABIO’s country coordinator Abdallah Mkindi said if the farmers would apply agro-ecological practices would be assured of high yields.

“We should continue building capacity among farmers in applying agro-ecological methods which fertilise soil,” Mr Mkindi pointed out, arguing that these methods would enable farmers have sustainable harvests since farmers would be growing different crops and different livestock.

The advice was upon study conducted by PHD student at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Mr John Constantine, who recently did his research to find out at what extent farmers in Mvomero and Masasi districts are aware and apply the existing agro-ecological methods.

Results indicated that the most applied agro-ecological practices were diversification (80.5 per cent), the use of farmer saved seeds (78.2 per cent), followed by intercropping (72.9 per cent) and lastly agro-forestry (3.2 per cent).

According to the findings, the highest percentage of farmers (30.4 per cent) reported to receive information on ecological organic agriculture from Non-governmental organisations including the SWISSAID.

The report shows that 27 per cent were using own farming experience, 21 per cent reported to receive the information from government extension officers, 13 per cent from friends or neighbours, 4.3 per cent from government institutions such as SUA and Agricultural Training Institutes and 3.6 per cent got information from agricultural input suppliers.

Generally, 50 per cent of farmers had received training on agro-ecological practices, hence indicating the level of awareness.

TOAM’s Communications Manager Anatory Gabriel underscored the importance for media to disseminate such important findings for the betterment of the country’s agriculture sector.

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