ARUSHA, TANZANIA – Farmers around Arusha have been advised to use the available technology and opportunities in agriculture to boost the country’s economy and increase their household incomes.
Dominick Ringo, the Executive Director of Research Community and Development Associates (RECODA), was recently explaining their project dubbed ‘Rural Initiative for Participatory Agriculture Transformation (RIPAT)’.
RECODA is taking the project to the farmers while Rockwool Foundation is providing the financial backing.
Rockwool is a Danish institution involved with numerous research projects around the world.
The Rockwool Foundation supports activities promoting alleviation of poverty and hunger through developing sustainable small scale farming and agri-businesses, small farmer groups with good governance, as well as micro financial initiatives which create the basics for economic growth.
RIPAT is aimed at building the capacity for small scale farmers at the village level. Ringo said the implementation of RIPAT agriculture projects started as pilot study in Arusha, northern Tanzania in 2003. He said they are trying to formulate an ‘open eye’ to farmers in the rural areas.
“We are conducting research on self-help, on how to improve agriculture and farming system to farmers in the rural areas” Ringo said.
He added that currently there were eight villages of Meru, Lengijave, Lemanyata, Ekenywa, Lokisito, Engolora, Lovilukuny and Oloitushula included in pilot study.
He said RECODA, wants to help farmers in the rural areas so that they can be able to utilize the resources they have for self- eliance that would later improve their living standards.
He said they were currently carrying out research on bridging the inland and lowland areas especially with regards to the rice growers which will also address poverty at household level.
“Effective use of land by farmers is needed to make sure that they use good farming techniques that include storage of water for irrigation, but also rearing of animals that could in-turn help them for manure,” he said.
Ringo said researchers were already on trials for the inland rice so as to find out the rice drought resistant variety that can be distributed to farmers.
He said there was need for researchers and agriculture practitioners to make their findings easily adaptable for farmers in the fields. More than a thousand farmers are presently benefiting from RIPAT. He stressed that farmers needed to be taught how to access markets for their products, storage for their produce and also getting the right planting materials.
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