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Funded by HIVOS – Netherlands

Project Title: Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture Innovations in Lushoto Tanzania through the Open and Green Society Model in East Africa

 

Introduction and highlights past year

Climate change will not cease being a cross cutting issue in agriculture today resulting into a rising need to upscale the existing integrated approaches to food security, environmental quality, human welfare and other development goals. Since the inception of climate smart agriculture project in Lushoto in 2014 with the purpose of addressing the climate related risks in rural households, several climate change and adaptation strategies have been implemented and up-scaled. The important risks that the project has been addressing include rainfall variability, frequent drought especially in the later part of the year, degraded landscapes, and emerging crop and livestock pests and diseases.

The climate smart agriculture project propelled transformation of Lushoto farmers from practicing unsustainable conventional agriculture through adoption of sustainable practices that enhanced their adaptation to climate change and developed resilience. Since the initiation of the project, SANREM’s aim was:

  1. To reduce the prevailing poverty and create sustainable livelihoods through climate smart agriculture and natural resources management; and
  2. To transform basic agricultural practices into commercialized production through climate smart intensification innovations.

To achieve the named two broad objectives, SANREM through together with its regional partners in Tanzania, conducted various activities in Lushoto district, the most populous region of the country. In our previous Annual Review Report of the year ended 31st December 2014, various activities had already been initiated in the Lushoto landscape which included:

  • On-farm demonstrations and promotion of improved maize varieties
  • On-farm demonstrations and promotion of improved maize intercropped with bean crops
  • On-farm evaluation and promotion of improved potato varieties
  • Capacity building of village savings and credit cooperative societies
  • Sustainable land management that integrates fodder and fruit trees
  • Capacity building of technical staff from partner organizations

 

The objective of SANREM was not only to initiate new innovations in the Lushoto region but also upscale the already established technologies. Therefore, in the project’s second year beginning 2015, our major purpose was to intensively work on various existing climate smart activities in order to obtain the best outputs. Currently slightly more than 3,000 farmers are now engaged in these activities up from 2,150 in the previous year. This result was significant and well achieved beyond what had planned in initial project implementation plan. There were also increased agricultural intensification, improved land management practices, increased number of women and youths participating in SACCOS and commercial production of horticultural productions in lowlands and Valleys of Lushoto.

 

Outcome

Basing on the current achievement outcomes of the project in Lushoto, we conclude at the end of 2015, the HIVOS project achieved more results beyond what was in the project implementation plan.  We can noted significant improvements in the following activities when compared to outcomes of year 2014:

 

  • More farmers have started cultivating trees to cushion their farms against soil degradation and mitigate climate change. SANREMstarted by establishing three community based nurseries targeting Masange- Milungui, Boheloi- Gare-Yamba and Mbuzii-Kwangw’enda villages. We were continuously engaged in strengthening these nurseries by supplying nursery establishment materials and equipment, seeds, financial and technical support. As per farmer preferences, the tree seedling species that were supplied included Pinus patula; Casuarina sp; Eucalyptus grandis; and Acrocarpus fraxinifolius. Grevillea robusta, Acrocarpus fraxinifolius and Casuarina jungmiana, and C. jungumiana which are used by farmers as Agroforestry species, while Pinus patula and Grevillea robusta were used for woodlot/plantation timber species, and Eucalptus grandis was used as boundary trees and woodlots for fuel wood and timber. Leucaena leucocephala was used as fodder. By integrating trees on farms, the Lushoto farmers will reduce their dependency on a single staple crop thereby diversifying their livelihoods. The tree planting also responded to a policy by the Lushoto District Council requiring a 10 percent tree cover on all agricultural and livestock farms.
  • There was a steady rise in yields of maize, beans and horticultural crops which was an indicator of increased use of improved agricultural technologies like fertilizer application and use of certified maize and bean seeds. Working closely with farmers and linking them with extension officers from the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture in Lushoto ensured that there was increase in the number of the farmers that used certified beans, maize and potatoes seeds that eventually transformed into high productivity and outputs from their small farms. This indicated that food insecurity was addressed and economic stability in the region was thus being addressed at all levels for the long term.
  • Positive overflow effects of the HIVOS project to farmers not directly involved in the project was also achieved at the end of 2015. SANREM also noticed an increasing trend of more farmers not in the project copying the farming methods and technologies that were being adopted in the mainstream project activities. This was part of SANREM aim that by the end of 18 months, the spillover effects of adoption of climate smart farming methods would diffuse to other regions around the project area. We anticipate that this effect will continue through the entire region even after the end of the project in 2015.
  • There has been a positive and improved trend in the number of women and youth being involved in agriculture and livelihoods activities an indicator of intensive capacity building conducted by SANREM and its affiliate partners. At the inception of the project, SANREM registered very low numbers of women and youths willing to be engaged in the project. However, we attest the tremendous increases in the number of women and youths who attended capacity building activities. Statistics indicates that women participation in SACCO trainings increased from 60% at the end of 2014 to 75% at the end of 2015. This has seen more women and youth borrow financial credit from SACCOS to start their own projects like improved poultry, horticulture, tree nurseries productions and purchase of certified seeds and farm inputs that has translated into high crop yields.
  • Crop diversification on the project smallholder farms including fruit trees has been on rise through 2015. More farmers are now planting trees like avocados, passion fruits and mangos in their homesteads as is indicative of the emerging greening and canopy of establishing tree covers. Passion fruits are already being harvested and have a ready demand both within the local markets in the community and other prime urban markets like Arusha, Morogoro and the country’s capital city Dar Es Salaam. They believe that the benefits are going to be much greater by the end of 2016 when the avocadoes and mangoes will start bearing and producing fruits. Project farmers also reported a positive trend where by non project neighbors had emulated the practice of planting fruit trees in their farms as well, an indicator of successful farming technology transfer beyond project boundaries in Lushoto district.
  • SANREM put in substantial efforts in the soil and water conservation activities which has seen significant improvement in crop performance as a result of soil water retention capacity improving as well as maintenance of fertile soils. Due to capacity building efforts, majority of the farmers are able to apply technologies that enhance increase in soil moisture retention and soil loss prevention especially in the steep slopes and valleys. For example terracing as an improved farming technology for communities staying on sloping land and or on hill sides has helped them to protect soil and water loss which in turn has transformed their farming practice and related output.

 

The success of the project by SANREM regional team was synergized by highly organized partnerships with other organizations that actively participated from the inception to the completion. However, as was initially indicated in the project structure and functional roles, SANREM made the bulk of the contributions through either resources provision or technical support to project households.

Notable key result areas are summarized as below:

 

  • There was a six fold increase in the capital base of SACCOS covering 29 villages from a total of USD 5,000 in the beginning 2014 to USD 40,300 in 2015. This capital has been essential to farmers who have been borrowing financial credit towards the purchase of new farming technologies including fertilizers, certified maize and bean seeds and also improving their indigenous chicken and starting off new off farm enterprises.
  • As a regional development organization, SANREM has contributed directly to soil and water conservation through resource support and offering of technical advice to households that participated in the construction of terraces on their individual farms. As a result of project intervention, more farmers have been document to be practicing soil and water conservation.
  • There has been continuous and consistent capacity building of farmers in the SACCOS and also in the field demonstrations and in the ToT training. The transfer of skills from SANREM’s technical officers to extension officers and other TOTs has had a tremendous effect on the way project beneficiaries have transformed their farming methods.
  • In terms of the emerging increase in number of female beneficiaries in the project, it was a deliberate effort by SANREM that more women than men are targeted in the project to increase outcome effect on farming households because as indicated in numerous literature citations from sub Sahara, it shows that about 85% of labour in agriculture production is contributed by women yet their efforts have not been fully recognized and rewarded over time. Therefore, SANREM ensured that at least 60% of project beneficiaries were women and that capacity building resulted into 75% of the beneficiaries being women and the youth.

 

Reflection on validity of strategies and assumptions

SANREM as a regional development organization believes that the strategies that have been applied in project implementation are valid and yielding expected outcome. For example, working in partnership with primary and secondary stakeholders has seen an improvement in project coordination efforts and resource targeting with less duplication of efforts. Similarly, use of participatory methodology where farmers are active participants and decision makers in project activities implementation has seen an increase in interest from many farmers who want to become part of the project. Capacity building is a key strategy that has been successfully applied and yielded benefits because farmers are practicing what they have been taught and also what they have observed on their on farms trials mounted by the organization in partnership with farmers and other organizations.

 

Outputs

On-farm trials and promotion of improved maize and bean crops in seven test villages:

Prior to the start of the long rains, monitoring and evaluation was conducted in order to plan and improve on what has been done during the previous short season. The partnership introduced climate smart agriculture packages in the seven pilot villages within Lushoto district landscape. The package involved superior crop performance, establishing soil conservation structures, soil fertility improvement, and increase in the establishment of more tree nurseries and tree planting. From the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) exercise, it was found that farmers were ready to use improved maize and bean varieties.

SANREM as a regional development organization, provided resource support in 2015, whereby, 1,355 farmers more than previous 550 farmers in 2014 from seven villages were identified and supplied with improved varieties of maize and beans to plant in long rain season. They were also provided with fertilizer (DiAmmonium Phosphate -DAP and Minjingu Nafaka). The 1,355 farmers from Milungui, Yamba, Gare, Masange, kwang’enda and  Boheloi  were given 1kg each of Pannar 67 and 1kg each of DAP and Minjingu Nafaka. Trials were conducted on each farmer’s piece of land. The farmers were required to sub divide their land into three sections. DAP was used on the first section, Minjigu Nafaka was used on the second section and no fertilizer was used on the last section which was used as control. Through resource support from SANREM, 600 Farmers in Mbuzii village were supplied with improved variety of beans (Lyamungo 90). They were also provided with fertilizer Minjigu Nafaka and DAP. The farmers also sub divided their land in three section and planted beans with DAP in the first section, Minjingu Nafaka in the second section and the third section no fertilizer was used. The farmers were later supplied with Urea fertilizer for top dressing and it was applied on all the three sections of the trial. Monitoring and evaluation was participatory where farmers were asked to give their views on performance of the test crops.  High yields were harvested from plots that were applied with Di-Ammonium Phosphate –DAP, followed by plots under Minjingu and no fertilizer plots performed dismally. Farmers then saw the need of using DiAmmonium Phosphate –DAP together with improved certified seed varieties in order to realize better productivity.

 

On-farm trials and promotion of improved potato varieties:

SANREM as a regional development organization, in partnership International Potato Centre (CIP) led on farm trials for improved potatoe varieties, by working with more than 150 farmers to empower them to plant potatoes all year round while increasing yields. Preliminary findings showed that advanced clones and resilient potato varieties that included Asante, Shangii and Obama, outperformed local varieties, such as Kidinya, in terms of resistance to potato late blight disease. CIP trained farmers in partnership with the local agricultural extension staff on potato management, from land preparation to seed storage. In 2015, SANREM survey showed that 60% of project respondents reported to be using improved potato varieties, compared to 40% in the previous year of 2014 which translated into a threefold increase in potato yield, to an average of 2,500kg/ha.This has led to reduction in the use of local varieties which are susceptible to pests and diseases, poor growth and low production. However, over 60% of monitored project farmers preferred local cassava varieties which they contented was of better taste, high vigor and easily accessible through the community’s seed bulking fields.

 

Capacity building of community –led by SACCOS

SANREM as a development organization has been financing the above activity that was done in collaboration with SARI, Lushoto District Executive Council and local communities. The regular project reports and monitoring showed that farmers were actively building their three SACCOS through continued contributions, loaning and seeking for training on how to manage them.  The membership and current financial status for the three SACCOS is presented in Table 1.

 

Table 1: Financial Status of SACCOs in project

Name of SACCO Household membership Money in Bank

(USD)

Loaned money

(USD)

Total

(USD)

MBUKWA 291 3, 502 9,518 13,020
YABOGA 367 2, 873 10,743 13,616
KWAMAGA 363 3, 185 10,479 13,664

 

The three SACCOs currently have an active household membership of 1,021. The SANREM made an initial contribution of USD 15,000 in 2014 and 18,000 in 2015 to the three SACCOs for capital, while the local community contributed about17% of the capital through membership fees and mobilizing finances through local initiatives with other development partners. In addition, SANREM used total of USD 10,000 for

Over 80% of the funds are in circulation in the form of financial loans within the SACCO members. More than 70% of members are borrowing from the SACCOS mainly for on-farm agricultural activities during the rainy seasons, purchase of food, start-up of small businesses and payment of school fees and health expenses.

 

Sustainable land management that integrates fodder and fruit trees and ISFM trials

At the inception of the project, soil fertility assessment was conducted by SANREM and its partners around the cropland to identify key nutrient constraints for sustainable crop production in Lushoto district. Preliminary results from 69 soil samples that were collected from representative sites in seven villages showed that Nitrogen and Phosphorous were the most limiting nutrients for crop production in the area.

Therefore a total of 210 farmers from the seven pilot villages (30 farmers per village) were identified and engaged in planting fodder and fruit trees, with the use of fertilizers.  There was significant outcome in the performance of fodder and fruit trees that had been applied Nitrogen and Phosphorus fertilizer compared to those not applied.

Capacity building was done by SANREM technical field assistants to promote this activities that saw over 500 farmers who willingly adopted this innovation. A greening effect can be seen in all project farms, a reflection and indicator of improved soil fertility. This achievement contributed to improved productivity, increased on farm income and reduced food insecurity amongst project beneficiaries and their dependants.

 

Soil and Water Conservation:

The Lushoto landscape is characterized by highly dissected landscape dominated by steep slopes making it highly susceptible to soil erosion. Over 80% of the land is hilly and steep terrain and about 60 % of the slopes are eroded. Therefore SANREM and its affiliate partners have been leading the way in soil and water conservation. The low levels of soil organic matter with a light texture make it very vulnerable to soil erosion like sheet wash, rills and gullies which are evident in many farmers’ fields. An increased effort to curb this problem has continuously been done, where a total of 500 more farmers from initial 350 farmers in 7 villages were involved in the implementation of soil and water conservation program. This saw a total length of 70,300 metres comprising of terraces, Fanya Juu and Contoured grass strips were constructed on farmers’ field.

 

Table 3: Soil conservation structures implemented in year 2015

Conservation type  Coverage in Metres
Terraces 34,780 (49.5%)
Fanya Juu 13,840 (19.7%)
Contoured grass strip 21,680 (30.8%)
Total length  in Metres 70,300 (100%)

 

Terraces increased coverage area from 23,780metres in 2014 to 34,780metres in 2015. Fanya Juu terraces from 5,840 metres to a tremendous 13,840metres in 2015, and lastly, Contoured grass strip from 7,680metres in 2014, and tripled to 21,680metres in 2015. As a result of terracing and the contoured grass strips, soil water retention capacity was improved, nutrient retention was upheld and crop production was improved as a key outcome.

 

Activities carried out by TAFORI and ERMCSD on tree nurseries:

Three tree nurseries were established by SANREM through TAFORI each under the management of SACCOS, with a combined capacity of producing over 150,000 tree seedlings in a season.  This was a tremendous increase from the previous capacity of 15,000 tree seedlings. Using germplasm developed by ICRAF, both SANREM, SARI and the Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI) promoted agroforestry in Lushoto for ecological and economic benefits using the slogan “Five-Fs for food security”: Food, Fuel, Fodder, Finance and Fertility. By integrating trees on farms, the Lushoto farmers reduced their dependency on a single staple crop thereby diversified their livelihoods. The tree planting was also a response to a policy by the Lushoto District Council requiring a 10 percent tree cover on all farms. Currently, champion farmers with individual tree nurseries are being used as learning sites to teach their peers in the communities.

The role of the TAFORI in the project was tree nursery establishment and planting within project sites in Lushoto district. SANREM can now report that over 150,000 tree seedlings and 16000 quality fruit trees were distributed to farmers for planting during both short and long rain seasons. Three tree nurseries were established in three CBOs at Milungui- Masange, Mbuzii-Kwanwe’nda and Boheloi-Gare-Yamba villages to provide planting materials for farmers in Milungui, Masange, Mbuzii Kwang’wenda, Boheloi, Gare and Yamba villages respectively.

 

Achievements during the reporting period

 

a.     SANREM Carried out an Agriculture Intensification Programme innovation activities for adaptation to climate change that involved:

  • Helping farmers to understand how to improve land management practices and incorporate fruit trees to improve nutrition and enhance the soil organic matter content, a total of 16,000 fruit trees were introduced and distributed in 2015.
  • Introduction of commercial horticulture targeting the urban centers and market areas in Tanzania. This encouraged farmers to produce horticultural crops like kales, cabbages, capsicum, hot pepper, tomatoes, onions and other crops in large scale to meet the market demand.
  • SANREM together with extension officers from SARI and Lushoto Ministry of Agriculture introduced improved farming methods through crop mixture for example improved bean varieties were intercropped with maize. A total of 1,500 farmers were engaged in this intercrop
  • Six acres of community land was used for seed bulking, a program that was carried out through farmer groups, teaching of new ways of producing, treating and storing seeds on-farm.
  • Local indigenous chicken were introduced into confined ranges unlike the usual free range system. Using selected hens and cockerels to multiply, over 13,000 birds in 100 households were produced.

b. In order to mitigate climate change, farmers and their tree nursery management groups were supported to continue:

  • Sharing knowledge on how to reduce soil and nutrient losses from crop land, increase soil organic matter and tree cover on-farm while managing group nurseries initiated by SANREM and TAFORI which led to establishment of tree seedling nurseries with a capacity of 150,000 seedlings that were shared amongst project beenficieries to plant on their farms. This effort will contribute to the Tanzania government policy to achieve 10% tree cover on agricultural land.
  • SANREM field officers steered the process of establishing ‘Farmer Field Schools – FFS” to build the capacity of community based organizations and farmer households on enhanced agroforestry practices. More than 1,650 farmer households have benefitted from this programme.

 

c. Policies and institutions for climate resilient food system

SANREM as a regional development organization has been closely working together with Lushoto District Executive Council and the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives to enable a closer working relationship between farmers and extension officers. Through the proposed partnership, 35 community based agricultural workers have been trained on climate smart agriculture innovations as an approach of knowledge and technology transfer to the locals.

1.      Outreach

The number of direct beneficiaries/participants in the project in 2015 is as follows:

Until now up to 5200 farmers have benefitted from the project implementation activities

  • Expectation for the whole year was 3500 farmers benefitting from project implementation activities. The achievement was beyond expectation.
  • 2000 men and 3200 women have so far benefitted from the project implementation activities making female beneficiaries the bulk of those who benefited from the project.
  • 4700 farmers who have benefitted come from the 7 rural villages, the remaining 500 farmers copied from the project farmers. This implies that the project’s ‘demonstration’ effect to non project participants was positive.

2.      Main Changes in SANREM Organization

SANREM organization was committed to produce the best outcomes for Lushoto project. To achieve this, it appointed a team of trained technical personnel who were actively engaged in all sectors of the project. This included two female gender mainstreaming professionals, 1 communications professional, one soil and water specialists, one development management specialist, one capacity building specialist, one monitoring and evaluation specialist, 5 administrative staff, and 2 climate smart agriculture specialists who were based in Lushoto Tanzania through the project lifespan. More SANREM staff training and capacity building was done by experts especially in data management, analysis and interpretation. This promoted proficiency of the staffs in the use of research softwares and models as tools for producing quality research outputs. Because of the project, a total of 15 staff and 8 interns were trained in various disciplines that have improved organization decision making process. Currently two members of staff are using project data to write their post graduate dissertations and thereafter graduate with masters of Science degrees.

SANREM also conducted frequent field trips in 2015 to expose more staffs to the project partners, especially farmers and other associated institutions. This has expanded their scope of working with other stakeholders, and exposed them to different types of challenges related to research which is seen as an approach of enlightening our staff on challenges that should be anticipated in every project. They managed to come up with observations and recommendations which were used to improve on the outputs of Lushoto project.

As a result of the project various technology equipment were added to the portfolio of SANREM assets that are now proving vital for day to day running of the NGO. Staff has now more access to ICT hardware and software, and filed staff now has video recording, voice recording and still photo equipment, with the latest technology in the market.