IRINGA based-Farm for the Future commercial farm has trained over 200 farmers from 16 villages in Ilula, Iringa Region during its annual Farmers Day, an event that involved a walk-through on its 250 hectare commercial farm growing commercial maize, seed and sunflower.
Speaking at the event which, the Farm for the Future (FFF) Project Manager, Osmund Ueland said here over the weekend that the event is a platform for sharing knowledge and practical experiences on best agricultural practices focusing a wide range of topics including correct crop spacing, mechanisation, conservation farming, crop protection, soil improvement and overall methods of improving productivity.
“We have been organising this event for three years consecutively now with a primary objective of sharing knowledge on good agronomic practices and share results of commercial and community empowerment activities. “The event also provided a rare opportunity to the farmers to connect with our key partners particularly the fertilizer and seed producers,” said Ueland.
He pointed out that FFF has significant knowledge and experience in modern farming practices which they constantly share with smallholder farmers as part of its unique community empowerment model.
“The baseline survey is underway to establish the impact of our work in the communities but we have so far trained 1,600 smallholder farmers, over 30 young mothers and 20 goat farmers. “Improvement in productivity among smallholder farmers that we train is already visible and this is a key component in raising incomes and quality of life.”
The participating farmers have expressed how the event enhances their knowledge on good practices and have pledged to share the learning with their counterparts.
The knowledge exchange of these actors makes a great contribution to the introduction of new technology, their adaptation to the smallholder farmers’ requirements in Ilula and further development of good agricultural practices.
“The Farmers Day has proved to be a very effective model in bringing agriculture experts, agro input dealers and farmers together to connect and share knowledge, experience and forge partnerships that continue to advance agricultural activities among the smallholder farmers in Ilula and the neighbouring areas”.
Abdi Nyangatuke, a smallholder farmer from Matalawe village said he learnt about soil improvement and will now practise conservation farming which is key preserving and enriching the soil health.
“Traditionally we burn all residues after harvest but I have learnt that retaining them in the farm replenishes the soil with organic materials and serves as a cover to prevent soil erosion while maintaining moisture.”
The Sokoine University of Agriculture which has a research plot at the farm demonstrated how traditional methods of ploughing the land and lack of fertilisation result in poor yields and encouraged farmers to embrace new farming methods.
The village Chairperson of Masukanzi Dua Kitime said the farmers are grateful and proud of all FFF community empowerment programmes.
The Farmers day which has been held for the past three consecutive years has proved to be a very effective model in bringing agriculture experts agro input dealers such as Yara fertiliser, Monsanto, Corteva, BASF, Zamseeds and sunflower processers such as Pxylus and Bytrade together to connect and share knowledge, experience and forge partnerships that continue to advance agricultural activities among the small smallholder farmers in Ilula and neighbouring areas.