ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark

Organic World

Tanzania: Small scale organic farming O18

Faustin Herbert Silenge

Kilimo cha Mseto - Peramiho-Tanzania

Agriculture in Tanzania is divided into industrial farming, often run by the government and small scale farms mostly less than 1.5 hectare. The main problem of these small farms is sustainable soil fertility that farmers cannot manage. Kilimo cha Mseto-Peramiho as an NGO project, is trying to find ways on organic agriculture basis to acquire sustainable agriculture.
The project comprises of twin projects and leads a farmers training centre. One wing deals with organic manure with emphasis to the use of legumes majorly the sunnhemp plant. The other which is a garden implements Agro-Silvo-Pastoral activities. The policy of the project is to show and explain ways of organic farming and gardening to farmers, women groups and officials. one of the success of Kilimo cha Mseto propaganda is the establishment of the Tanzanian Society of organic farming (KIHATA). This is a farmers apparatus which is an umbrella to converge all farmers efforts towards sustainable agriculture. Farmers have sought a need to rehabilitate all causes of enviromental degradetion such as the misuse and overruse the land flagile ecosystems of limited or unreliable water sources. There are several factors which shows threats to biological and genetical diversity which include, bush fires, dependence on agrochemicals, elimination of tree species for bussines purpose, introduction of enotic species and hybrid seeds. Lack of proper water management has resulted to drought, floods, siltation, erosion and water poisoning by agrochemicals. Up to 90% from both pastoral and small scale farms base on monoculture and normally especially maize. The dependence on agrochemicals especially the use of artificial fertilizer slighly evacuates to farmer preference since its price has been highly rocketing and the only fertilizer factory in the country is out of use. In the last four years the price rised up 200% while the product quality became lower and its price remain stagnant.
Tanzania has a total area of 947,000km2 and a population of 26 million, with terrestrial and acquatic enviroments and a good number of endemic species a variety ofbiological diversity.
Traditionalay agriculture was chiefly subsistence oriented whereby different site-specific farming methods were practiced and varied from one area to another according to ecological, cultural, social and political conditions in addition to farmers understanding of their natural enviroment. Many traditional farming systems however did succeed to remain sustainable for centuries, they managed to adapt to changing farming conditions and maitain stable even production levels.
The introduction of colonial agriculture technology based on agrochemicals, and the incorporation of Tanzania agriculture production into the international market system, agriculture became more market oriented. Tanzania political and intellectual elietes become often preoccupied with European logic, since many of them had been educated at European institutes and are donor dependent to-wards European production models.
Major enviromental problems facing Tanzania today include soil degredation, poor water management, agrochemical food poisoning and destruction of biological diversity. Lack or dormant legistation and polices has contributed to a range of enviromental problems which are linked to or influenced by social culture and economic goals. Also sectoral functional mandates pursued by various institutions have left Tanzania without an enviromental policy. This include uncoordinated planning processes, uncoordinate NGO's and GO's activities and lack of enviromental impact assesment before implimentation by various development projects. All these leads to training, demonstrating and educating our society to conserve their enviroment and aquire sustainable agriculture.