Thanks to BRN, Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel
“My two children were expelled from school in 2013 because we could not afford paying school fees and other costs for them,” bemoans Mwanaidi Hamza, a mother of five children. It was very frustrating that herself and her husband could not help it but watch their elder son and daughter retreat back-home, signaling an end to their education dreams, just at the age of 15 and 13 respectively.
Ms. Hamza has nobody to blame, but wishes BRN training in agriculture should have come earlier. She is one among five local farmers at Mkindo Irrigation Scheme in Morogoro that received Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training in 2014. They were further supported to train other 295 farmers in the scheme. The training, specifically focused on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI); that involves seed preparation, seed selection, seed planting in nurseries, transplanting the seedlings after seven days (in required spacing), controlling water intermittently, controlling pests using natural methods, use of proper input (fertilizers and improved seed), and knowing the right timing for harvest.
All the farmers in the scheme know Ms. Hamza and her colleagues, thanks to their dedication in spreading the knowledge to most farmers in the scheme. “We see significant rise in harvests, after adopting SRI practices,” expounds Nesto Ngagili, another farmer at Mkindo; adding that this season he did harvest record 10 sacks of rice from half an acre farm.
Ms. Hamza is a proud farmer. Encouragingly, she is one of the farmers who have benefitted immensely from the training. “I harvested an average of 45 sacks of rice per acre in 2014 and 2015 seasons; which is a big jump compared to only 5 or less I was harvesting before I got the training,” attributing the previous situation to her inability to cater for her family needs. “Now my remaining three children are in school, and we have moved to our new house which is at finishing stage, thanks to the rise in harvests in these two years,” she says.
“Our community relies upon agriculture for it is the sure undertaking at the moment. It is hardly that you can see young people roaming about in the village; because they see immediate positive results when they choose to turn to paddy farming,” adds Mr. Ngagili; also linking the recent revolution in paddy farming to the speedy emergence of Mkindo township.