The Southern Highlands Agrobusiness Service (SHAS) project is proposed and written by Tanzanian Emmanuel Christopher Mwakabana, 27 yearsold. Emmanuel lives in Makambako in the Njombe region of Tanzania.
Description of the project proposal
The SHAS project is intended to provide extension service to small-scale farmers of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, particularly the Njombe region. The SHAS-project will directly reach an estimated 1,000 maize farmers in Njombe and indirectly benefit 2,000 farmers within a year.
This project is designed to address the unsustainable livelihoods of 1,000 (650 female and 350 male) maize smallholder farmers despite the existing opportunities in the maize value chain.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Njombe. Its strategic objective is to support the targeted farmers to get good and reliable training on the wise and safe use of crop protection products (fungicides, insecticides and herbicides) while having access to measuring bottles to support calibration during spraying.
The project is designed to welcome key stakeholders to ensure desired outcomes and beneficiaries that are benefiting from different angles. The project will strengthen beneficiaries’ understanding of crop protection and bring them closer to other agro-input stakeholders, eventually exposing them to a learning event organized by other stakeholders.
Socio-economic impact of the project
Training and encouraging farmers on the importance of wearing protective gear will increase their awareness, while its adoption will keep them safe and healthy to continue with their agricultural activities.
Providing farmers with measuring flasks will help them to use the correct and recommended rate of pesticides, which will eventually give the results from good efficacy of crop protection used. It will also reduce impacts to the environment and prevent being exposed to either disease or insect resistance from crop protection product(s).
Using genuine pesticides will help farmers to protect, cure and prevent their crops from infestation and damage from disease, insects and weeds and thus keeping their crops healthy and with the potential to produce high and quality yields that match with market quality demand.
No effective, reliable, non-chemical alternatives are available for many pests, and chemical pesticides are the last resort. Therefore, training and encouraging farmers to use genuine pesticides will help tackle problems of getting generic and fake products from the free market.
Unwise use of pesticides may increase the cost of pesticides, toxicity to natural enemies and other non-target organisms, disease and insect resistance to pesticides. This calls for training on wise and safe use of crop protection products.
The SHAS project will have two main outcomes from its implementation: Firstly, targeted farmers will have improved their production as they protect their crops from insects, diseases and weeds using genuine products at the correct rate and dosage, as well as keeping themselves and their environment safe from improper pesticide use.
Secondly, targeted farmers will become trainers to other farmers on the wise and safe use of pesticides, motivating others to adopt their practices.
What motivates me to do this Project?
As the government of Tanzania continues to face financial constraints, it has started to reconsider the issue of public extension service and is currently entertaining the possibility of gradually divesting the public sector of extension. This leaves the private sector and users to take an increasing responsibility.
In a drive to increase smallholder productivity, there is great need that farmers should be trained and motivated to use personal protective gear and genuine pesticides as well as using a measuring bottle to support spray rate calibrations.
The market for agro-inputs in Tanzania has great number of companies, and for both generic and genuine producers most of their crop protection product packages are not equipped with measuring bottles. Therefore many farmers do not have accessed to such equipment, exposing them to the risk of unwise use of pesticides and even fertilizer.
With the current restructuring, more and more of the public services, including agricultural extension, must come from private companies, agricultural projects and NGOs. Diversifying extension sources is the only best way to address the ever-increasing need for extension service from various categories of users.
How to achieve goals
We will having a farmers’ school assembly at a specific village and time where maize farmers will be trained on Personal Protective Gear, wise and safe use of pesticides and motivating farmers to use genuine pesticides.
We will work with active and existing maize farmers’ groups and associations for trainings, conducting field demonstration plots and welcoming other stakeholders like input producers (seeds, pesticides and fertilizer) producing genuine products and input suppliers, especially agro-dealers.
Field demonstrations will act as a means to prove that new practices (use of genuine products) are superior to the ones being used currently. They will convince and motivate extension clientele to try and adopt new practices and set up a long-term teaching-learning situation.
As a Field Expert working in Njombe, I have been involved in many training as trainer, and as an agronomist for field demonstrations and seminars related to agriculture. I have the advantage of a good network with a good number of farmers (potato and maize farmers) and their associations.
Furthermore I have started establishing my own agro-business company that will be working in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, serving farmers and bringing farmers closer to inputs producers and suppliers while receiving agriculture consultation, extension services and training on cost sharing basis.
For easy mobilization and facilitation of demonstrations, farmers’ school assemblies and trainings, I have planned to use existing and active farmers’ groups and associations.
Actual Measurable Success Factors
The actual measurable success factors include number of farmers trained and benefiting from the project, number of farmers receiving measuring bottles, number of trained TOTs from different farmers groups and associations and increase of production per acre for trained farmers.
Buying measuring bottles will cost USD $2800.
Cost for 5 field demonstrations is USD $200.
Cost for 10 trainings including farmers’ school assembly will be USD $750 and USD $1000 for 2 TOT trainings.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Emmanuel Mwakabana (Njombe, Tanzania) – vardeima[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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