Improved agricultural technologies


Photo credit: Africa Rising

Siza Mkini’s farm is now a village attraction. Her fellow farmers in Kitowo village frequently visit her farm to ‘take a look’ at what she does that makes it so productive.Photo credit: Ahazi Mkoma/ICRAF


Improved agricultural technologies for improved livelihoods in Tanzania

How switching to improved agricultural technologies like hybrid maize varieties and application of bladed fertilizers catalyzed a young female farmer’s dramatic rise from an off-season casual laborer to a champion farmer in rural Tanzania.

Some three odd years ago, 22year-old Siza Mkini was at a cross road in her life. She had just dropped out of school the previous year after it was apparent that she could not continue with her education because she could neither afford nor find a relative capable and willing to pay her school fees. Siza had also during that period become an orphan after her father passed on in early 2013. Her younger siblings now depended on her for their food and other daily needs almost entirely.

“At that point in time, my life seemed to be unravelling. So I had to do something fast to ensure that we get through the tough times,” explains Siza. “I initially started growing maize and poultry rearing in one corner of our family land. However because this wasn’t bringing in returns fast and often crop failures and disease infection to the poultry; I started working for neighboring families in Kitowo Village as an off season laborer,” she adds.

Siza’s challenges continued on and off; until in early 2015 when she got wind of the commencement of Africa RISING – NAFAKA project in Kilolo District. Through her participation in the project since its inception, Siza was trained on various agronomic practices of maize production and introduced to different improved maize varieties – some of which she has adopted.

From the income she gets from her farm, Siza Mkini can now buy clothes for her grandmother and her siblings too.

From the income she gets from her farm, Siza Mkini can now buy clothes for her grandmother and her siblings too.Photo credit: Ahazi Mkoma/ICRAF

Of the different technologies she was introduced to, two stand out in Siza’s opinion – growing of hybrid maize verities and bladed fertilizer application. The two technologies, in her opinion, have revolutionized her life! From the 4 acres family land where she would grow maize and harvest a measly 0.2 tons of maize, she now harvests 4 tons!


Read the full article: Africa Rising

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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