The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

World Vegetable Center charters course for healthy food production among local growers in Tanzania

June 7 was the World’s Food Safety Day as endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile in Tanzania the World Vegetable Center empowers local farmers to become healthy food producers feeding international markets with organic produce

The World Vegetable Center is setting out on a special mission to educate local farmers in Tanzania on best ways of growing healthy foods to sustain proper diet.

“The whole world is undergoing a transformation in which people consume food as medicine instead of being driven to consume medicine as food,” explained Dr Simon Boniface, the entomologist at the World Vegetable Center.

Dr Boniface was addressing farmers during a special field training event at Embaseni Village of Meru District where the WVC was introducing its ‘Fresh,’ concept which is an abbreviation for ‘Fruits and Vegetables for Sustainable Diet.’

Farmers in Meru district were cautioned against excessive usage of chemicals in the field, especially things like weed killers, pesticides and compound fertilizers, that eventually become intoxicant in the end products.

“With ample arable land, adequate water sources all the farmers in Arumeru need is quality seeds, especially the improved varieties that can withstand harsh weather conditions,” pointed out the WVC entomologist.

Jonas Nnko is a farmer based in Embaseni Ward who admits that things have drastically changed nowadays as far as farming is concerned.

“Today agricultural activities start from up to the bottom; that is people begin with securing markets before getting down to the actual farming,” he said, adding that growers are more oriented to selling than consuming.

“Farmers deal with plants that command huge market outlets and sometimes get compelled to apply all things possible to ensure fast and good harvests and therefore become gullible to people who promise them shortcut solutions.

And when taking these shortcut routes sometimes they end up with wrong or counterfeit farm inputs.

The Agriculture Officer from East-West Seed, Ladislaus Mkufya said farm inputs especially kernels and seedlings must take into consideration the needs of growers and consumers, a rather challenging balance to maintain.

“While farmers want disease and drought resistant seeds, consumers demand palatable and tasty fruits and vegetables, it is the task of kernel producers to ensure that their products satisfy both sides,” said Mkufya.

According to the World Vegetable Center (WVC), the vegetable sector in Africa, precisely south of the Sahara, remains underdeveloped.

On the other hand vegetable and fruits consumption in most parts of the continent is extremely low.

However, due to Africa’s diverse agro-climatic zones, there is great potential for smallholder growers to produce a variety of vegetable crops for domestic use as well as selling to international markets.

Vegetables are described to be the most important source of cash income for smallholder farmers in Tanzania and indigenous greens provide an important source of nutrition, particularly for poor people.–

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