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13.05.2022 09:27 News >> University Lab Helps Farmers In Tanzania To Combat Climate Change

University Lab Helps Farmers In Tanzania To Combat Climate Change

On eve of World Farmers Day on Saturday, farmers in Tanzania collaborate with scientists to devise techniques to fight water scarcity.

Due to recurring spells of droughts and scarcity of water owing to climate change effects, farmers in the East African country of Tanzania have adopted techniques to maintain crop yields for their survival.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the eve of World Farmers' Day, which is being observed on Saturday, Grace Lusako, 37, a farmer, said he has devised ways to plant rice saplings without flooding the field.
"I have learned important skills to increase my harvest even with little water availability known as System of Rice Intensification (SRI) – a farming technique entailing transplanting paddy seedling without flooding the field," she said.
Pointing to his two-acre field blooming with rice saplings, Lusako said this technique has helped him to increase yield from 31 bags to 83 bags, enough to shoulder the food needs of her family of six including four children.
In the Kiroka village located in the Morogoro region west of Dar es Salaam city, farmers holding small lands were often struggling to produce enough food for their growing families. They said that the rainfall pattern had increased their hardships.
Farmers say that thanks to the researchers at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), they have been able to improve their food yields by using smart and climate change-resistant agricultural techniques aimed at to grow crops with less water.
Researchers at the SUA have been joining farmers in their fields to impart training to introduce new techniques such as the SRI to track fertilizer and water use efficiency. It is believed that farmers collaborating with researchers have reported a 38% increase in crop yields and a 44% reduction in water use.
Lusako and 267 other farmers trained by SUA researchers have become the role models in the village.
Aquilin Tarimo, an agronomist from the SUA, told Anadolu Agency that farmers, who had been facing water problems, especially during the dry season, are now making use of new systems and the training to manage the water requirement of crops.
"Vegetable cultivation once abandoned in the village is now making a comeback," she said.
University projects help farmers
Henry Laswai, a professor, said that the project launched by the university has been helping farmers in the impoverished region, not only to improve their household food security but also to reduce soil erosion.
"These new techniques have brought back smiles on the faces of farmers. The farmers are more willing to learn more from researchers and embrace the new technology," he told the Anadolu Agency.
According to researchers' rainfall patterns in Tanzania have become erratic with many areas receiving about 500mm of rainfall annually compared to 1000mm of rain they used to receive previously.
This has affected farmers who constitute almost 80% of the agricultural workforce since they largely depend on rain-fed agriculture.
In Kiroka village, farmers say the two rivers, which are the main sources of irrigation have now become seasonal.
Mohamed Kigala, 48, whose maize farms are located on a steep gradient, is using multiple methods to prevent soil degradation that he has learned through the training from SUA researchers.
"I did not know these techniques before. Let me be very honest, I have been able to overcome a lot of problems that I have been facing. I thank the researchers for their expertise" he said. -



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