World Renew Tanzania and our implementing partner, Africa Inland Church Tanzania (AICT), are in the middle of a 5-year Conservation Agriculture (CA) program, with World Renew resources supplemented by funds from Global Affairs Canada through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
This support allows us to work with 3,800 farmers and their families in the area known as the Lake Zone, which encompasses the northern Tanzania regions bordering Lake Victoria. We’re working with AICT, government agriculture extension officers, and champion farmers for better soil health, a major contributing factor to better harvests, better family health, and better income.
Conservation agriculture farming techniques are fundamental to this endeavor. Reducing soil tillage, using mulch and green manure cover crops as permanent soil cover, and crop rotation or intercropping with green manure cover crops all rejuvenate the soil in positive ways.
Not long ago, a group of Canadian Foodgrains Bank supporters from Canada came to see conservation agriculture in action. After some orientation to our work at the World Renew country headquarters in Mwanza, they traveled east several hours to the town of Musoma, where they were hosted by our partner AICT, the Diocese of Mara Ukerewe (MUD), for the next few days. Our AICT MUD partners are working with farmers in districts bordering Lake Victoria, Serengeti National Park, and our neighboring country of Kenya. They and our visitors traveled to some of the villages where CA work is beginning to bear fruit. Among the people they visited was a 23-year-old farmer named Emmanuel Marwa Sabure.
Here is Emmanuel’s story, as recounted by World Renew Tanzania’s Liberator Simon, who accompanied the group:
I received CA training from AICT MUD and the government extension officer who came to our village. At first I did not take up this technology, as I was not sure if it would give any profit to my farm or if it would add anything to my farm product, so I decided to wait so that I can see others who are ready to risk practicing this new idea in our community. For some years, the way we do farming has discouraged farmers, especially youth, because we witnessed the drop of yield year after year due to climatic change and the way we do farming.
My mother is a Canadian Foodgrains Bank CA champion farmer, and she practiced CA principles on her farm, while I continued with our conventional way of farming. My mother kept mentoring me and insisting that I should try CA on my farm and see the difference, but I was not ready. When the time for harvest came, my mother harvested more than I did, doubled her profit, and sold cover crop seeds to other farmers and AICT MUD staff. My mother harvested 12 bags of 100kg from the same plot of 1 acre where we used to harvest only 3 bags. This was never enough to feed our family, but now we are food-secure because she started practicing CA. Seeing is believing! I decided to try CA farming after seeing my mother’s success.
I started using CA principles in 2016. I planted lablab, jack bean, and peanuts, intercropped with corn. It is now my second year since I started CA on my plot. Before using CA principles, I would harvest only 2 sacks of corn from my plot of 1.25 acre. We have two seasons of rain in my area, and the first rainy season this year I harvested 8 sacks of corn from the same plot from which I used to get only 2 sacks. However I did not sell cover crop seeds, but instead I shared them with other farmers in my village.
I appreciate all the people who put in their effort to make sure that I got this knowledge: AICT MUD staff, government extension officers, and my mother who kept insisting that I practice CA. I would like to learn more about agriculture and continue teaching other farmers about conservation agriculture.
Currently 79 farmers in the community are practicing Conservation Agriculture and eight of them are Emmanuel’s neighbors!
- We did some strategic long-range planning with our team in January. Pray that we’ll see some real benefits in the way in which we work with our Tanzanian partners and communities as a result of this planning. Please pray that more communities, families, and individuals will see their lives transformed for the better, both spiritually and materially.
- We are in the process of recruitment to fill the key position of Program Consultant. Pray for discernment for each stage of the process, including facilitation of the work and residence permit processes, which can take a lot of time, but need to be completed before the new Program Consultant can take up the position in Mwanza.
- Paul and Elizabeth Kaufman and their four boys are making decisions about the way forward after their term with World Renew Tanzania ends on May 31. Pray that this will soon become clear to them and that the logistics related to this process will go well.
- Pray for farmers like Emmanuel that are learning about Conservation Agriculture through us and our partners. Pray that they’ll be able to put this new information to good use and that they will not get discouraged when all does not go as planned.
World Renew Tanzania