“Improving the awareness, knowledge and skills of the local farmers on horticulture, aquaculture and business issues in relation to the productive use of SMARTechs”
Small scale demo plot
The demo plot was divided into two part; one part was improved by construction of greenhouse structure and the other part is open field. The idea is to give the opportunity also to the small farmers who are not yet able to invest in a greenhouse structure to learn and practice. All field are going well but with different challenges and experiences ; other idea is to show to the farmer that with the small area they can improve their life standard if there will be a good plan.
The activities is still ongoing with higher success because we managed to construct the greenhouse in the plot in which inside we have planted about 1000 tomato seedlings, also there are two fish ponds with capacity of keeping 300 catfish and 80 Sato fish (not easy to be grown in cold weather like Njombe). We also show the productive use of water in the sense that we have supplied water from the dug well to the raised tanks and then to the greenhouse. We have raised two tanks with 5m3 each and water is pumped from one dug well with only 12m which has capacity to fill 5m3 for one pumping and it can recover for 30min only.
The first week about 32 farmers got the training on horticulture and aquaculture, during the horticulture training the participants were introduced to the basics of agriculture production and productivity. This covered the general challenges hindering quantity and quality production as the main requirement for Agribusiness engagement. The participants were then exposed to the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) as the key solution to entering into agribusiness, where production and market calendar, basic field management practices such as field preparation, proper weeding, nutritional and pest management are a necessity where the basis was Organic Farming. Various locally made and imported environmentally friendly technologies and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to address Organic agriculture production challenges and market requirements were taught as well
In the horticulture training the participants had a chance to cover different topics like; things to consider before implementing fish culture project, how to determine areas suitable for fish farming, how to produce seed ( fingerlings), how to produce monosex tilapia seeds, how to manage hatchery and fish seeds, types of ponds and design, criteria to consider for pond construction, pond management, ingredients for fish feed production, how to manufacture fish feeds, how fish feed, what are fish diseases, how do they affect fish and how to control and cure the fish disease
During the second week the farmers were provided with some basic business skills. They had a session on how to find market in Tanzania and abroad, they developed both the business and action plans for their future
During the first week technical training to the farmers they got also chance to visit the SHIPO demo plot and see physically the combination of the technologies i.e how 12m deep dug well can pump and fill the 10000ltr rised water tanks which is used to supply water for irrigation of about 1000 tomato plants and two fish ponds with 8000lts each. They also see the efficiency use of water through use of drip irrigation kits, this session open up the mind of many farmers and most of them promise to practice after return back home.
The arrangements in the greenhouse it helps a lot to open the mindset of farmers and many of them they wanted to have this service. See the pictures below for more explanation.