In this semi-arid remote village of Mwanza region, dozens of farmers are now reaping the fruits of bumper harvests courtesy of the support provided by the Adapting to Climate Change in Lake Victoria Basin (ACC-LVB) project. An East Africa Community (EAC) regional project coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and is implemented in the United Republic of Tanzania through the Vice President’s Office in collaboration with Magu District officials.
Unlike in the past where local communities in Ng’haya village only practiced rain fed agriculture, farmers in the area are now basking in glory after the ACC-LVB Project drilled four boreholes that are fitted with solar powered water pumping systems to support micro-irrigation for rice intensification and off-season crop farming during dry seasons.
This has enabled farmers in the area to have produce and harvest food crops all year round thus increasing food security in the far-flung area that is prone to frequent drought episodes.
Previously some of the farmers used diesel powered water pumps to do farming along the Simiyu riverbanks.
The machines were however constantly polluting the water hence not environmentally friendly and was also costly.
But since the inception of the project, the farmers have now adopted new methods, using water from the drilled solar powered boreholes.
“Without this project we would have been at the riverbanks farming using diesel pumps, we are very grateful for the project as we have really benefitted a lot financially from the sale of the farm products.” Said Mr Jared Paulo the chairperson Kikundi cha Badilikeni.
The farmers now plant tomatoes, green grams, Cabbages, Cucumber, Cupsicum, kales, maize, chickpeas, sunflower and rice.
Grace Chombo another member of Kikundi cha Badilikeni group said “we now farm twice a year unlike before where we only farmed during rainy season. During that time, the production was not good due to unreliable rainfall.”
Samwel Mayegi, Chaiperson of Kikundi cha Urafiki Busalanga said “Now we are sure of good harvest even if rain cut short early before our rice are ready as we can supplement using the micro irrigation.”
According to Magu District Executive Director Ms Fidelica Myovella the projects have had positive impact to community members.
“This project has really changed the face of the village, if you look around you can see the neighbouring areas are very dry with no farming activities going on, but in this village, life is different, and the farms are green.” said Ms Fidelica, Magu District Executive Director.
The Director admits that they have learnt a lot from the success of this project which has made them replicate it in other areas.
She said “We have seen the impact of the project in the village. Even as you walk, it is evident. As a district we have also replicated the same by drilling 5 more boreholes to assist communities within the district”
The ACC-LVB project has also supported the community by installing three greenhouse technologies to promote vegetable and horticultural productions. One has been built at Ng’haya secondary school, and two to Kikundi cha Mboga Mboga community group as a learning centre on greenhouse farming.
Madam Glory Sulungu, Head Mistress of the institution said, “We acknowledge the benefit of greenhouse technology and are glad that we have received training on modern farming methods and both teachers and students have now realized that apart from rain fed agriculture, there are also other methods of farming.”
George Juma Chairperson Kikundi cha Mbogamboga said, “We have realized greenhouse farming is better than open field farming as it is free from pest attacks. As you can see in our open farm, we have sprayed agrochemicals to control pests more than thrice but for the greenhouse we sprayed only once.”
In the Promotion of Ecosystem based Adaptation interventions tree nursery has been established at Busalanga Primary and Ng’haya Secondary schools and 400 different fruit tree varieties planted at the same institution.
In addition to crop farming, the project has also support two community groups with 149 beehives to practice bee farming.
So far, they have been able to harvest over 400 litres of honey.
The project has also installed demo rainwater harvesting system at Ng’haya secondary School with four water tanks of 5000 Litres for learning and encouraging communities around to practice rainwater harvesting as an adaptation technology.
National project co-coordinator in the United Republic of Tanzania Eng. Onespholy Kamukuru said the impact of the projects have been felt in most of the villages within the region.
Eng. Kamukuru said, “these projects have made people living in these areas be financially independent because they are now able to plant and sell their produce twice a year unlike before where they only planted once due to lack of rainfall.”