Tanzania farmers adopts vegetable farming to improve nutrition

Tan TomThe production of tomato is increased in the project intervention area. (Image source: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr)The farmers in Tanzania are encouraged to grow elite varieties of vegetables, enriched with high-value nutritional content, in order to fight malnutrition, hunger and double agricultural productivity and income of smallholders

The Africa RISING project focuses on the need to take urgent action in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to end to hunger and undernutrition to African farmers.

In sub-Saharan African region, lack of dietary diversity is one of the most important factors of malnutrition as majority of the population consume staples as their main food, which are low in micronutrients and vitamins.

In order to reduce this lack of dietary gap and encourage the farmers to produce crops with rich nutritional content, project is targeting more than 6,000 smallholder farmers in seven districts across Tanzania to promote vegetable farming as a complementary agricultural activity in the largely maize-dominated farming systems.

The result has revealed that many of the small-scale farmers in the Sub-Saharan African region are showing an increasing trend to turn to farming of the leafy greens. Vegetable farming has become a feasible alternative of agri-business with high potential for income generation.

According to the project data, the combined use of healthy seedlings with good agronomic practices has increased the production of tomato by 3.4 times and production of African eggplant and Amaranth by 2.8 times each in the project intervention area.

“Data from the project sites in Babati, Kongwa and Kiteto districts show that from 2014 to 2016, farmers increased tomato production, on average, from 10.7 to 17.2 tonnes per ha, African eggplant production from 8 to 14.4 tonnes per ha and Amaranth production from 8.6 to 12.2 tonnes per ha following community sensitisation, use of quality elite vegetable variety seeds and training in healthy seedling production,” said Justus Ochieng, a WorldVeg scientist.

The project also aims to enable the region’s smallholder farming households to identify better methodologies for storing increased quantities of food produced and accessing viable markets, thus helping them to extend income generation opportunities for them.

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