A TOTAL of 4,000 farmers have benefited from the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) agricultural projects coordinated by the JICA Alumni Tanzania Association (JATA) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
This was stated over the weekend by the Chairman of JATA Mr Gregory Mlay during a special workshop to discuss the development resulting from the funding of the implementation of the projects under JATA held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro.
According to him, JATA is a collection of Tanzania’s Japan Alumni who are experts in different fields of their respective professions.
He said SHEP is an extension approach innovated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which he said is implemented in 23 African countries and that in Tanzania it is implemented through TANSHEP project under the management of the ministry of agriculture and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG).
“In this project themed Anzia Sokoni Malizia Shambani kwa Kipato Zaidi (Start from Looking Market Needs and Grow Crops for Better Income) starts by empowering farmers to conduct market surveys whereby upon realization of market requirements they (farmers) can make strategic production including the selection of crops as well as been subject to harvest timings and therefore get good profits”, he noted.
The project also enables farmers to change their production patterns according to market needs as well as adopt the farmer-to-farmer extension approach to share technical knowledge among themselves.
“TANSHEP is a program which is implemented with the intention to transform the agricultural sector towards higher productivity, commercialization level and smallholder farmers’ income for improved livelihoods, food security and nutrition,” he said.
Speaking during the occasion, the Moshi District Council Agricultural officer Mr Fridolin Mpanda said the council was among the Local Governments Authorities (LGAs) in the country that implemented TANSHEP project from July 2019 to June 2021.
One of the beneficiaries of the TANSHEP project Mr Eldavis Elihuruma from the Rauya village-based Umoja Wetu Group, in Moshi said education on modern agriculture and market surveys before cultivating crops changed the group’s agricultural programmes for the better.
“We can now create a crop calendar which will enable us to harvest crops at a time when there are the market demands something which enables us of reliable clients and good incomes,” Mr Elihuruma said.
Kilimanjaro Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Mr Willy Machumu commended JATA for sharing their knowledge with their local colleagues.
Mr Machumu, who was representing Kilimanjaro Regional Secretariat, Mr Emmanuel Lema, said JATA’s ideas complimented the government’s efforts of improving the small-holder farmers countrywide.