APRA Tanzania present findings to media

After the successful high profile media coverage by the APRA Malawi team, the Tanzania team have followed suit by presenting a selection of their research findings to 23 different media houses during a special event held at the Sokoine Agricultural University (SUA) on 21 October 2020. Media organisations that attended included BBC Swahili, Tanzania Daily News, Deutsche Welle and many others (see below for full list).

The research outcomes on rice and sunflower commercialisation in Morogoro and Singida regions in Tanzania, presented by APRA researchers including Aida Isinika Ntengua Mdoe and Devotha Kilave, focused on three areas: Youth benefits in agriculture, advice to stakeholders to invest in agribusiness, and recommending a nationwide training on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) farming.

Youth are benefiting

The research, based on youth participation in commercial rice farming in the Kilombero basin, found that young people between the ages of 15 – 35 (35.5% of the population) are the main beneficiaries of commercial rice farming, despite the challenges of raising capital and difficulties in accessing agricultural land. It also found that the main beneficiaries are predominantly young males.

Ntengua Mdoe speaking to workshop participants. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI

According to Ntengua Mdoe, this clearly shows that young people are involved in agricultural activities, and therefore challenges the view that youth show little interest in farming.  

Aida Isinika added that, while youth participation in agriculture in the region was high, they tended to focus on crops that yielded fast results such as rice, onions and tomatoes.

“They need short-term results that is why you see many are rushing to those crops that spend short time in the field in order to get money faster”

Prof. Isinika

The researchers urged local governments to allocate land for youth to commit to agriculture, and to provide loans through a youth development fund. They also advised District Councils to collaborate with other agricultural stakeholders to enable young people to improve training and enable farmers to increase productivity and income.

APRA reseacher Chris Magomba talks to journalists. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI

Invest in agribusiness

With young farmers focusing on these fast-growing crops, the APRA team urged the government and other stakeholders to place more emphasis on agribusiness, particularly on these short-term crops, as a way of creating more jobs for young people in the country.

Moreover, they stressed the importance of agribusiness as a tool of poverty alleviation through improving the livelihoods of farmers and their families.

The research results also demonstrated significant benefits for smallholder farmers and surrounding communities by engaging in direct farming or by engaging in other stages of the value chain as service providers for example. In particular, this helps young people and mothers to become self-employed and earn a guaranteed income, says Ntengua Mdoe.

APRA researcher Gideon Boniface talks to participants. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI

Training on SRI practices

The researchers recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture organise nationwide training on SRI farming practice in order to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of farmers.

A rice farming method that uses less water and fewer seeds, SRI follows best practices such as timely ploughing and planting seedlings within 7 to 10 days from the nursery, which enables farmers to obtain a higher yield than via traditional methods.

Devotha Kilave addresses participants. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI

Devotha Kilave, a researcher from Sokoine University of Agriculture, said that their study had shown that training has a great contribution to increase productivity in agriculture, for example, farmers with SRI training had higher yield per plot than farmers with no SRI training.

Aida Isinika emphasised that if used properly, SRI it will prevent water loss and protect the environment, which is important as a substantial quantity of water from the Kilombero basin is used to generate electricity in the Julias Nyerere hydro-power station under construction downstream within Rufiji basin.

Group photo of workshop participants. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI

For a full report on the media workshop, click here

The full list of media outlets attending were:

1. The Guardian  2. Business times 3. Daily news 4. SUAMEDIA 5. Michuzi Blogs 6. Full Shangwe blog 7 .Channel 10 Tv  8. Azam Tv  9. Majira 10. Mtanzania 11. TBC  12. Clouds Media 13. Star Tv  14. Abood Media 15.Habari leo  16. Nipashe  17. ITV  18. Radio One 19. BBC  20. DW 21. AYO TV  22. The CITIZEN  23. Mwananchi  

For related APRA Tanzania research, follow the links below:

APRA Working Paper 30: Does rice commercialisation impact on livelihood? Experience fromMngeta in Kilombero district, Tanzania

Blog: How SRI technology and irrigation has transformed Anita’s life

Cover photo: Devotha Kilave addresses members of the press. Credit: APRA Tanzania/MPOLI