FRN Contributions to Resilient Food Systems
Research Community and Organizational Development Associates
Farmers; local government at regional, district, ward, and village levels; MVIWAARUSHA, Iles de Paix, Rikolto, Echo Tanzania, Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Agroecology Hub-Tanzania, TARI-Ilonga and TARI-Naliendele, Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, and Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania, Participatory Agroecological Land Use Management-Tanzania
Community of Practice:
The project aims to advance and cascade knowledge gained from two earlier phases with the FRN in Singida. Farmers identified and addressed some of their challenges and exploited opportunities to improve their livelihoods, including using locally available resources and Indigenous and improved technologies to counter the effects of climate change.
Having undertaken research on improving farmyard manure (FYM) quality through proper storage and composting, farmers observed how it compares to the FYM used previously. Legumes have been harnessed for soil fertility, nutritional security, and income improvement. FRN members positively received combining legume integration in the farming system and soil fertility management, among other practices. During the six years of research, FRN members experienced extreme effects of weather change; however, the research supported their capacity to cope with these conditions.
The Tanzanian government’s MOA has shown interest in AE, farmer-managed seed systems, and other practices. More actors have joined the movement of which RECODA FRN is part. The project seeks to advance both AEI understanding at a local level (district, region, and country) and to influence the policymakers whose food security policies skew toward intensive use of chemical fertilizer and industrial pesticides. Need exists to continue amassing evidence of AE’s ability to meet food and income needs for rural farmers.
FRN members testify to improved and increased production. Continued application of AE practices with success steers farmers to enhance engagement with the market; otherwise, their efforts will be wasted because of middleman exploitation.
Singida farmers produce sunflower, a commodity in demand in Tanzania and the world. The 2021-22 soil amendment trials with sunflower were highly affected by rain shortages; nevertheless, the agroecological practices still revealed better performance. Soil fertility management for sunflower requires further exploration, noting that some stakeholders promote intensive application of fertilizer and chemicals while the price of sunflower seed remains low. It is crucial for the FRN to undertake initiatives in coming up with cost-effective ways of producing sunflower through AEI.
Questions remain about how best FRN members can influence the market and other value chain actors. More stakeholders are engaging in healthy and safe food initiatives. This opens an opportunity.
The overall goal is to boost farmer participation in enhancing adoption of agroecological practices and harnessing AEI’s benefits on productivity, living, and resilience, developing farmers’ innovativeness in participating in processes during and after production.
Specifically, the project seeks to:
- Improve soil health, fertility, and water conservation through increased farmer knowledge and management of soils through soil fertility trials and other agroecological practices.
- Strengthen the FRN to continue with both AE research and application of the same on their farms and to further identify stakeholders who can foster more AEI.
- Contribute, through research and data collection, to evidence of AE viability in sustaining smallholder farmers’ lives.
- Strengthen the FRN to undertake research on AEI as it relates to marketing and economy.
- Establish role of other value chain actors in AEI and identify more actors in value chain development (e.g., middlemen, transporters, processors).
- Strengthen seed system for groundnuts, pigeonpeas, and sunflower.
- Facilitate dialogue on AE.
Outputs and Outcomes:
- Improved soil health and fertility as measured through moisture retention during dry periods and productivity
- Published evidence of viability of AE in smallholder farmers’ resilience
- More AE evidence amassed in Tanzania through participation in various agroecological conferences
- Farmers actively participating in the market and supplying healthy, safe foods at a rewarding cost
- Farmers knowledgeable on seed production and producing quality declared seeds for groundnuts, pigeonpeas, and sunflower
- AE workshops, meetings, and conferences facilitated in Singida region
- Policy implementers (local government in Singida) more knowledgeable about AE
- FRN members continuing with AE research at household level, trying out different seed varieties and soil amendments
- Improved food and nutritional security
- The government, higher learning institutions, research institutions, and policymakers supporting AE implementation by farmers in Tanzania
- Increased adoption of AE practices in Singida and Tanzania by smallholder and big farmers
- Increased income and, hence, resilience for smallholder farmers in Singida and elsewhere
- Policy to support AEI drafted and AE popularized by authorities
- Increased access to quality seeds for smallholder farmers