In the Kishapu district of Tanzania, farmers struggle to transform their barren plots of land into healthy crops of maize and sorghum. Frequent droughts and poor soil quality make it difficult to grow enough food or earn a living. Because there is not enough healthy food to eat, many children are undernourished.
Members of households migrate to neighbouring districts in search of food and work, or sell off their limited assets to get by. It helps them to cope with immediate food shortages, but it is not the key to lasting food security.
We’ve Never Experienced this Before
Paul has been farming for over twenty years, but has never seen a plant sprout in Tanzania’s dry soil so quickly. Although the rains have not yet arrived – only showers – Catherine Mahona is also seeing the benefits of her hard work come to life.
Like Paul and Catherine, Jared Abdrea says that while his maize crop was planted only a month ago, the seeds planted have already emerged. He remarks that this is something he has never experienced before.
Returning to Our Roots
Presbyterian World Service & Development is working in partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and the Africa Inland Church of Tanzania to help 320 vulnerable households in the Kishapu district overcome food insecurity and malnutrition.
Farmers selected for the program receive vegetable seeds, along with training in conservation agriculture—an environmentally friendly farming technique that helps retain moisture and nutrients in the soil and prevents further erosion —to increase crop yields
Jinna Njingula says the village is harvesting less and less from larger tracts of land, but he remembers the village experiencing high crop yields farming on small plots of land using only a hoe when he was young. By adapting to the conservation agriculture techniques taught through the project, Jinna believes they are returning to their roots and healing the land. By protecting the soil, conserving water and using organic fertilizers, he expects better yields for years to come.
For pictures from PWS&D food security projects, click here.