Sweet potatoes farming to fight malnutrition

OVER 140,000 youths and women in Ilemela, Sengerema and Buchosa District Councils in Mwanza Region are set to benefit from modern sweet nutritious potato farming which is expected to fight malnutrition among children under five years.

It is through a-five year ‘Tufunguke’ project which kicked-off in January this year, which is implemented by Tanzania Home Economics Organisation (TAHEA) in collaboration with the Tanzanian government at a tune of 792.4m/- from the WeEffect-Tanzania (organisation).

The project is also aimed at food security promotion at household level, economic empowerment and improvement of beneficiaries’ residents.

Tufunguke’s Manager, Bundala Ramadhani told the ‘Daily News’ recently that so far, five beneficiary groups with 30 members each have been formed in Buchosa and were offered modern farming training.

A number of agricultural experts, including those of Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) have been engaged to make sure the available sweet potato seeds are free from diseases and are resistant to climate change impacts, he said.

“Experts are also in place to give general modern farming education and technology for quality and abundance farm outputs that would compete in local markets,” said Mr Ramadhani.

He added that the beneficiaries were also taught on food processing technologies for long-term preservation, given the fact that sweet potatoes are among perishable farm products.

Economically, beneficiaries are empowered with money saving, loaning and investing training, TAHEA Director, Mary Kabati chipped in, adding that the organisation runs a microfinance that offers soft loans plus financial management education (to beneficiaries).

It was further noted that since the beneficiaries are registered at social welfare offices, ‘Tufunguke’ implementers look forward to helping them switch into cooperative, for access to larger amounts of loans in major financial institutions.

Buchosa Council Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Officer, Mr Nestory Mjojo, said that sweet potato seeds have been distributed to all group members in the council for production and distribution (of seeds) to other beneficiary districts.

He urged the ‘Tufunguke’ beneficiaries to stick on modern farming technologies and disseminate the knowledge to others, in a bid to meet the targeted goals.

On behalf of her fellow beneficiaries, Ms Anisia Samwel commented that the project meant a lot to them, as they have embarked on joint investments after training, whose incomes will be distributed to each member at the end of the year.

“We also think of purchasing building materials, gradually, for distribution every December. This is for improvement of our homes,” she said.

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