The Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro is conducting a special program which aims to accelerate agro ecological farming systems for farmers and extension officers in Mbeya, Morogoro and Singida regions.
Known as ‘Agroecology Hub in Tanzania’ (AEHT) the project is implemented through a gender-sensitive and multi-stakeholder collaborative research for development.
It addresses friendly policies that aim at enhancing livelihoods and sustainable environment in rural communities through the principles of Agro ecological Intensification (AEI) in Tanzania.
Agro-ecology Hub is a collaborative crop research program funded by the McKnight Foundation, in partnership with other major institutions.
Partners include the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA), Swissaid Tanzania, Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM), Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) and the Local Government Authorities (LGAs).
Professor Dismas Mwaseba, is the agriculture extension and community development at SUA who also works as principal investigator for the ‘Agroecology Hub in Tanzania.’
“Through the hub, we’re training agro ecological experts to the tune of Master of Science Degree (M.Sc.) and PhD programs in agro-ecology as well as short courses, and exchange programmes for farmer’s research networks (FRNs) and extension staff,” Prof Mwaseba explains.
According to the Don, the hub was also responsible for compilation of documents and disseminating information on the best practices and technologies based on research of agro ecology and related fields.
“We have realized that strong and well established farmers’ research networks are vital,” he says, adding that there’s a need for effective coordination of Agro Ecology partakers in the country.
Apparently, they are also striving to ensure that agro ecology is included in the national training curricula and teaching modules for all local agricultural institutes.
They also intend to have the Ministry of Agriculture assist local farmers to adopt and actively engage in agro-ecology farming.
“Agro-ecological Intensification (AEI) has the potential to contribute to healthier and sustainable food systems in Tanzania, but to achieve that all stakeholders must work together.”
Agroecology is cited as the environmentally friendly method which can transform the agricultural sector in the country for healthier food production while combating effects of climate change.