Multipurpose trees help Tanzania smallholders build a resilient farming system
Winnie Saigodi, a mother of five, from Moleti village in Kongwa District, Tanzania, had long given up on ever harvesting any meaningful produce from her one acre farm.
‘I completely lost hope because for five years, I hardly harvested anything from the farm despite cultivating different crops. Nothing grew well and soil erosion was also a major problem,’ Saidogi says. She eventually left the land fallow until researchers from the World Agroforesty Centre (ICRAF) working with the Africa RISING project visited her and asked to use part of her farm for research trials on growing multipurpose Gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) trees, which can be grown for fodder, wood supply, wind erosion control and soil fertility improvement.
Anthony Kimaro, the ICRAF country representative in Tanzania and the Africa RISING research theme leader, says that in the 2014/2015 season alone, over 16,000 Gliricidia seedlings were raised by farmers and distributed for planting in the five villages of Mlali, Molet, Ilakala, Manyusi and Njoro. More than 100 lead farmers took part in a demonstration of the tested agroforestry technologies of raising these trees and they later shared their newly acquired knowledge with other farmers.
From the trees, farmers in this semi-arid part of central Tanzania are gaining a source of green manure, fodder, fuel wood and shade, among many other benefits.
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