Tanzania, (Xinhua) -- A team of
agricultural researchers on Tuesday urged farmers in sub-Saharan
Africa to embrace intercropping farming system and the effective
use of organic fertilizers for high productivity and soil
The experts from Tanzania,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique and Malawi made the
call in northern Tanzania’s capital of Arusha at a gathering
organized by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Stephen Lyimo, a project
coordinator with AGRA-Tanzania, disclosed that farming using
organic fertilizers and intercropping was beneficial to Africa’s
smallholder farmers, describing the farming system as the
practical application of ecological principles such as
diversity, crop interaction and other natural regulation
He said that agricultural
sector in the region is faced with myriad challenges including
climate change and reduction of soil fertility caused by poor
farming methods, hence the need for farmers to change their ways
of farming remained important.
Lyimo, also a senior researcher
with the Arusha-based Selian Agricultural Research Institute
(SARI), said the use of organic fertilizers ensure farmers high
productivity as well as improves soil fertility.
“Intercropping and effective
use of organic fertilizers in farming is a solution towards
increasing yields of farmers,” the official said, adding: “It
is high time for farmers to change the way of doing things in
farming and embark into effective use of farm inputs which are
friendly to the environment,” he said.
The expert said that in
Tanzania organic fertilizer is available and produced on the
Lake Manyara shores, located in northern part of the country.
He said that there are farmers
who have started embracing the new farming techniques,
effectively using organic Minjingu fertilizers and realizing its
Nestory Mangali, an
agricultural researcher with AGRA in Nairobi, Kenya, described
intercropping as the one of the best farming practices that need
to be embraced for high productivity and profitability, advising
farmers to get into the new farming system.
“This is a very recommendable
efforts we need more African farmers to embrace the spirits,”
Rwandan Agricultural researcher Innocent Uwimana said, “We
need more farmers of this nature to boost soil well-being as
well as increasing productivity.”
Tanzania’s project coordinator
of AGRA, Stephen Lyimo, said the use of organic fertilizers
ensures farmers high productivity as well as improves soil
“I am expecting to harvest
25-30 bags of maize per acre, which is three times of the
previous production. And for pigeonpeas production has been
doubled from 2-3 bags to 5-8 bags per acre. This has been a
result of applying phosphorous fertilizers and intercropping,”
said Pascal Tonge, 53, One of the project beneficiaries in
Babati district of Manyara region.
Since 2009/2010, AGRA has been
is implementing a project on Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC),
which contributes towards radical change in the understanding
and use of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)
techniques in sub-Saharan Africa, whereby smallholder farmers
are empowered to improve their crop yields.
The project is meant to address
the problem of soil fertility by introducing application of
different sources of phosphorous fertilizers—DAP, Minjingu
Phosphate Rock and Minjingu mazao in maize-pigeonpea cropping
In Tanzania, the project is
implemented in Arumeru, Siha, Moshi, Kilosa, and Gairo districts
of Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Morogoro regions.