Kubadilishana Maarifa (Knowledge Sharing) in Tanzania
A Unique Opportunity for Knowledge Sharing: Lushoto CCAFS Benchmark Site
Bringing together the scientists from the National Agricultural Institutes, District-level Extension
Agents, Farmers and International Research Scientists to discuss appropriate Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for the CCAFS Benchmark site: Lushoto, Tanzania provided a unique opportunity for increased knowledge sharing among many stakeholders.
As part of the CCAFS project Playing out transformative adaptation in CCAFS benchmark sites in East Africa: When, where, how and with whom?, CIAT team (Leigh Winowiecki, Jennifer Twyman, Peter Laderach, Anton Eitzinger and Kelvin Mashisia) co-organized a Data Analysis and Adaptation Strategy Development Workshop in Arusha, Tanzania, from June 4th to 6th, 2013 with the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).
Climate Change in Lushoto
Farmers are already noticing changes in the local climate patterns in Lushoto. The CCAFS baseline survey for Lushoto indicated that 75% of farmers made changes in their land management practices due to erratic rainfall patterns. During the workshop, farmers stated that timing of the onset of the rainy seasons is unpredictable. It is because Lushoto is vulnerable to climate change that our project is using a number of spatially explicit tools to assess crop suitability and crop productivity for the region, under different climate scenarios.
Data Analysis Training
Participants received training in open source data analysis tools such as R statistics and DIVA GIS. With these tools we explored crop suitability of beans across Tanzania and analyzed the variability of soil properties, including the effect of cultivation on soil organic carbon at the Lushoto site! Spatial data layers for Tanzania were shared with all participants, including climate (WorldClim), topography, river networks, administrative districts, land use, among others. Analysis for the soil data indicated that Lushoto has overall low soil organic carbon data in cultivated areas (~15 g C kg-1).
Participatory sessions were also held to share past experiences, challenges, elements of successful projects, current and past farming practices and more! Feedback sessions on the participatory workshop as well as the gender and socio-economic surveys conducted in Lushoto provided interesting discussions and highlighted additional considerations for the region. The final report of the Lushoto participatory workshop was shared with all participants in both hard and soft copy formats.
Challenges Highlighted and New Ideas Highlighted
Lushoto region has many challenges to overcome; discussions highlighted the unpredictability of rainfall, land fragmentation, low soil fertility, unreliable seed sources, lack of farmer groups, new crop diseases, among others as key challenges to address. We also focused on solutions and creative ideas including: more farmer field days and more demonstration farms in each village, creating trust within farmers groups, and making agriculture attractive to the youth.
Several climate change adaptation strategies were suggested for the Lushoto site: including engaging community groups to build terraces (matuta ya ngazi) to stop soil erosion; knowledge sharing on best practices for composting farm yard manure for application on the farm to increase soil organic matter; working with the national tree planting program; providing input on contour planting; increasing awareness on zero-grazing; introducing leguminous cover crops to improve soil health and reduce erosion; among others. Increased knowledge sharing between researchers, farmers and extension agents was highlighted as an important activity.
Workshop summary (by Leigh Winowiecki)