FARMERS in Buchosa Council of Sengerema District have called on relevant authorities to provide public education on modern farming in order to increase productivity.
They said the education can be given regularly through public rallies because some of them have no access to agricultural extension services.
They made the plea here recently during a workshop on sustainable agriculture which was organised by the Tanzania Home Economics Association (TAHEA) in Iligamba, Kazunzu and Nyakalili Wards.
The workshop is part of TAHEA ‘Joint Public Resources Monitoring’ project worth 43m/-, which is being implemented in Buchosa from September last year to November 2023 under the sponsorship of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).
The farmers said that they are aware of the government motorcycles offered to extension officers, but they rarely visit them due to lack of fuel.
“ That is why public rallies would fill the gap while the government fixes the challenges facing extension officers,” said a workshop participant, Ms Valeria Ngotezi.
Based on the presentations during the workshop, Ms Ngotezi learnt that majority of farmers have no knowledge on farm preparations, land tilling, seed sowing as well as pre and post harvests.
As a result, their farm outputs fit only domestic consumption, with no quality to withstand the competition in international markets, she said.
Her colleague, Ms Vedastus Lupilia, called on more stakeholders to support the government and TAHEA efforts, to equip farmers with knowledge on best farming practices so that they can match with changes in science and technology in the agricultural sector.
Buchosa Council Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Officer, Mr Nestory Mjojo, responded that public rallies have been convened on a regular basis, but few members of the community show up.
According to him, Buchosa prioritises provision of policy and legal-related information, to make the farmers aware of the Ministry of Agriculture’s plans to improve the sector.
Iligamba Ward Councillor, Mr Lucas Deus, recommended the introduction of demonstration farms, through which all the farmers will be trained on modern farming technologies.
Demonstration farms will also substitute extension officers’ trips to every farmer and act as a one stop centre to all famers, with all farmers being trained at once.
TAHEA Projects Manager, Bundala Ramadhani said that the workshop aimed at engaging farmers in plantings, based on findings that have been conducted by the Council’s Development Projects Monitoring and Accountability Committee in the agricultural sector.
“And we connect the farmers with public service providers through our regular workshops,” he said.