Feature: China-Tanzania agricultural cooperation lifts farmers out of poverty

Source: Xinhua| 2021-11-17 23:56:06|Editor: huaxia

DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Fikiri Kisairo, a farmer in Kitete village in Kilosa district of Morogoro region, walks with pride when he attends to his thriving maize crop.

"My days of spending sleepless nights thinking how I can raise fees for my two school going children are gone," says Kisairo, a beneficiary of the China-Tanzania agricultural cooperation that has lasted for 10 years, lifting hundreds of Tanzanian farmers out of poverty.

Kisairo joined a maize project in 2019 overseen by China Agricultural University in collaboration with Tanzania's Sokoine University of Agriculture in a number of villages in Morogoro region to reduce poverty among villagers.

The farmer, who on Tuesday was among participants in a forum on Achievements of China-Tanzania Agricultural Cooperation: Small Technology, Big Harvest project, said he joined the maize project after he had fulfilled conditions of a demonstration farmer and participated in the project for three years.

"The increased maize yields enabled me to pull myself out of the poverty trap as now I have enough food and I sell the surplus of maize to boost my income," he told the forum in Morogoro region, about 200 kilometers west of the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam.

Kisairo, with a family of five members, boasted that he now manages to pay school fees for his two children, and he has built a deep water hole which he is using to irrigate his vegetable garden of about 1.21 hectares throughout the year, including dry seasons.

Martine Shigela, the Morogoro regional commissioner, told the forum that with the help of the regional authorities in collaboration with the China Agricultural University, farmers engaged in the project increased maize production, and 1,667 demonstration farmers cultivated at least one acre (about 0.4 hectares) of maize each.

The forum also witnessed the launch of a new project known as "The improvement of soybeans value chain in Morogoro region" which will be implemented by the China Agricultural University from 2021 to 2022.

"This is the continuation of established cooperation between Morogoro regional government and the government of the People's Republic of China," said Shigela.

As a pilot project, 200 demonstration farmers in four villages will be engaged and trained in production, processing and marketing of soybeans and soybean products like soybean milk and soybean flour, said Shigela. "This project aims at improving the health status of the villagers as well as increase their income."

Soybean consumption is among the major interventions to address malnutrition by promoting soybean production and introducing soybean value addition and utilization to the community's nutritional needs.

Xu Chen, the minister counselor in the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, said in terms of cooperation in agriculture, China and Tanzania are good partners.

He said the maize project not only scales up the production of maize, but also improves the living conditions of many local farmers by sharing Chinese investment in Tanzania's agricultural sector, adding that more and more Tanzanian agricultural products are entering the Chinese market.

As one of the agricultural bases in Tanzania, Morogoro region takes the lead in China-Tanzania agricultural cooperation, according to Xu.

Denis Nkala, the regional coordinator for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), said one concrete example of China-Africa cooperation for resilience and food security, following a demand-driven and multi-stakeholder approach, is the Small Technology, Big Harvest project, implemented by China Agricultural University in Tanzania.

"Through sharing good cultivation practices, the project aims to triple corn production, increase farmers' incomes, ultimately contributing to poverty reduction, food security and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in Tanzania," said Nkala. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Tanzania,China,Cooperation in Agriculture