INCREASING productivity and the quality and yields among the farmers in Tanzania has been given a top priority by Yara Tanzania. The firm’s mission is to responsibly feed the world and protect planet.
The Daily News Correspondent looks at the firm’s recent organised training for extension officers and the launch of new farming season for Southern Highlands Regions held in Mbeya Region…. Farmers in the Southern Highlands Regions recently were among the witnesses during the launch of new farming season officiated by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Dr Mary Mwanjelwa who commended Yara Tanzania for having invested heavily in building farmers’ competence.
“I commend your joint research with Uyole Research Institute to establish appropriate fertiliser for the various crops and soil types. Many other businesspeople are unreliable when it comes to supporting the farmers with knowledge and soil analysis,” Dr Mwanjelwa explained.
She said their interest is only to sell fertiliser without consideration of how the farmers will apply correctly and other agro-dealers supply inappropriate fertilisers to farmers, but she was contented with the approach of Yara Tanzania.
Dr Mwanjelwa said training of extension officers was an important aspect since they were the ones working closely with farmers to help with advice on all aspects of crop nutrition from a very beginning.
“I am told that, this new season launching has been preceded by the training workshop for 23 Yara extension officers. This is a step ahead and if these officers perform their duties diligently, farmers’ production will increase,” she said.
The deputy minister also awarded certificates to 26 agronomists contracted by Yara who will be working with farmers’ organisations, primary societies and agro-dealers in the Southern Highlands Regions.
Dr Mwanjelwa challenged them to work hard and ensure farmers get appropriate knowledge so that they could do farming as a business to increase their incomes and contribute significantly to the growth of agriculture sector.
Yara Tanzania Country Manager, Mr William Ngeno thanked the government for appreciating the firm’s efforts to increase the quality and yield of crops among the farmers, saying it has been well prepared to support the transformations in agriculture sector.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of the Yara Fertilisers based on farmers’ feedbacks, which indicate that users have been getting bumper harvest without compromising soil’s health,” Mr Ngeno said. He assured the deputy minister that given the fact that agriculture is the national backbone and Mbeya Region is among the country’s food baskets, the company will give special attention to the region.
“Yara Tanzania believes in the presence of a huge opportunity in agriculture growth with the availability of vast arable land, the huge investment being made by Yara indicates our long-term good intention in ensuring that there is a significant growth in agriculture, therefore hopeful for a conduciveness environment from the government so that we can work together to build the economy,” Mr Ngeno stressed.
Mr Ngeno said that Yara has agronomists to help with advice farmers on all aspects of crop production. Regarding fertilisers, the firm has solid or liquid, supply all crop nutrients including nitrogen, sulphur, phosphate, potassium and full range of micro-nutrients.
The Director of Obo Investment, Mr Olais Oleseenga who spoke on behalf of other Yara agro-dealers and distributors assured the farmers of timely availability of quality fertilisers and training on how to apply. “Because of the trust that we have built with Yara over the years, we have been entrusted with the responsibility of being main suppliers.
Yara has also trained us on proper use of their fertiliser and has connected us to extension officers at regional level so we can reach many farmers with this knowledge to increase their productivity….,” he said. Several farmers who participated at the Yara organised workshop expressed their satisfaction with the results of Yara Fertilisers.
Mr Samuel Gofrey, a farmer from Rungwe testified how his Potato yield has increased from 40 bags to 100 bags per acre after adopting Yara package. “Our members have increased their yield from 8 bags to 30 bags per acre since Yara started analysing our soils and providing us with appropriate fertilisers and training on how to apply,” said Raphael Swila, chairman of Amberico Rice Amcos in Chimala.
“For sure we have seen a big change in the yields and their fertiliser does not acidify the soil,” he said. The Agronomic Manager of Yara Tanzania, Peter Asei said the extension officers would be dispatched to various places and their role will be among other things to focus on how best farmers can contribute in achieving the Second phase of Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP- II).
“In this training we have also instructed the amount of fertiliser needed to be applied in different types of crops, if this knowledge reaches out to farmers and they apply it accordingly then there is no doubt that they will surely have a bumper harvest, increase efficiency and increase income,” he said.
Yara Tanzania has also printed a book that will act as a guide to farmers on better methods of farming especially on soil analysis to enable find out what nutrients are missing. Mr Asei pointed out that for significant revolution to be achieved in agriculture, farmers should pay attention to technical instructions they receive from extension officers.
“Important thing for a farmer is to pay attention to extension officer’s instructions, if such instructions are thoroughly implemented then we must expect positive outcomes,” he said. Yara Tanzania Business Manager, Mr Meshack John who is also the coordinator of Yara activities in the southern highlands said the company not sell all fertilisers but it also sells balanced nutrition for crops.
“We are committed to be part of the achievement in implementing the ASDP II,” he said, adding that training of extension officers was his firm’s top priority. Extension officers who attended the training workshop promised to improve their services especially in educating farmers on better methods of applying fertilisers.
They thanked Yara Tanzania who are manufacturers of fertilisers vowed to bring about changes to farmers through proper appliance of fertilisers. The training attracted 23 extension officers aimed at among other things to underline the need by extension officers to become field oriented with special attention to village farmers.
Monica Lwinza who was among the training beneficiaries thanked Yara Tanzania for having supported them in terms of training on modern farming and proper ways of applying fertiliser, adding that modern farming was key in bringing about agricultural revolution.
“This training is a big boost to us in terms of proper appliance of fertiliser and boost productivity, it is an undeniable fact that our farmers seldom know about important ingredients in farming especially proper use of fertilisers,” he said.
The Yara Tanzania who are the dealers in seeds and fertiliser supply in the northern highlands have launched the new farming season together with the training of 23 extension officers employed by the company who will be required to deliver field services to farmers in their respective areas.
It is believed that the extension officers will become a force behind agricultural revelation and in farmers’ improved standards of living. The training beneficiaries are the graduates at various levels in the discipline of agriculture and they are expected to visit various places in the area in question giving face-toface training to farmers.