Nine B4FA Media Fellows had the exciting opportunity to meet farmers and scientists in Tanzania on 6-7 June, including visits to farms, research centres and tissue culture labs. Eminent plant scientists and experts from Tanzania gave in-depth interviews to the journalists alongside their presentations. The journalists included Said Mmanga, Dorithy Ndetekela, Yakobe Chiwambo, Abubakar Karsan, Lucas Kulwa, Lydia Mapunda, Polycarp Machira, Kassim Jape, Greyson Mtembei, and B4FA’s Claudia Fichtner organised the visit.
On their first day, they met with Mr Swai, a retired researcher from Horti Tengeru, and 2 farmers. They visited tomato fields, hybrid maize and green beans that are exported. One farmer is able to pay his children’s school fees and for his solar system, all from a few acres.
Dr Victor Afari-Sefa, an economist and project leader, gave them insight into AVRDC’s activities (part of AVRDC, The World Vegetable Center) and their role in the seed system. They visited the gene bank with Dr. Tsvetlina Stoilovna, then continued their study tour with Hassan Mndiga in a green house, a post harvest station, the drying of seeds station and the demonstration garden. At the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) they met with Mr Shilla Oshingi, the Biosafety Inspector, along with his colleague Gloria Wapalila. Their biosafety presentation was clear and compelling according to the journalists.
The following day, the journalists visited Mr Mushobozi’s private tissue culture lab. Since the journalists’ last visit, he has expanded his operations in terms of greenhouses and a “screen house”. The journalists many questions and several are farmers and would have liked to source disease-free planting material.
Also on 7 June, Hellen, a farmer in Kisongo, welcomed the Media Fellows, together with Ms Betha Kimaro from RECODA. Both women explained the farming system very well and the journalists were quite impressed by her success in farming. Hellen has recently accessed electricity, paid her children’s school fees and is a showcase for the neighbouring farms. She is slowly being copied by her fellow farmers, as her intercropping system (legumes with bananas or with maize) can withstand the early drought in that area. She also has chicken and goats, a series of fruit trees and is even selling seedlings of those.
Lastly, the fellows visited SARI. Mr Mamuya, the wheat and barley breeder discussed with the journalists in a field and visited other fields. They also met Mr Lyamchai, the Director of Research and Development.