FARMERS in Lindi Region are planning to start commercial cassava farming by using improved varieties to generate more profit from their farms.
The plan comes after they were mobilised through a farming training on a field grown with eight improved cassava varieties at Kiwalala Ward, Mtama District in Lindi Region.
The farmers had gone to study about quality characteristics of the improved cassava varieties that have been developed by Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Naliendele Centre.
“Basing on what I have learnt on this field training, I am thinking of beginning commercial cassava farming from the next season,” says Bendita Mkanga a farmer at Mtama District.
The farmer said the improved cassava varieties grown at the field are of high quality compared to the old local varieties widely used at the area.
“We have seen that the improved cassava varieties mature quickly, they give more yields and they are not easily attacked by diseases,” she said.
Mkanga and the rest of the farmers in the area have been growing cassava without profit due to poor farming techniques.
“Most of us farmers use old local varieties that are of low quality and easily attacked by pests and diseases,” said Sinde Kirumbe, a farmer at Kiwalala Ward in Mtama.
Through the farming training, the farmers were encouraged to use the improved cassava planting materials using good agricultural practices to increase production.
On the other hand, the farmers asked TARI Naliendele to provide the farmers with the planting materials, conduct more training on modern farming technologies to help them improve production.
“We sincerely call upon the agricultural researchers to provide us with accessibility and availability of improved planting materials to improve production,” said one Bakari Namkunda, a farmer in Mtama.
An Agricultural Researcher with TARI Naliendele, Mr Festo Masisila, said the improved planting materials can be obtained from TARI Naliendele and other centres countrywide.
Apart from the institute’ centres (TARI), Mr Masisila said the seeds can be obtained from certified and approved seed producers in Southern Zone.
Mr Masisila said the TARI Naliendele has developed over eight improved cassava varieties suitable for cassava farming in the Southern Zone area (Ruvuma, Lindi and Mtwara),” he said.
He said the seeds are high-yielding, drought and pests and diseases resistant, maturing quickly.
He named some of the improved cassava varieties such as TARICASS 1, TARICASS 2, Kiroba and Chereko.