Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) as part of its strategy of ensuring smallholder farmers are in control of sustainable production systems, organized a farmers’ exchange visit to smallholder farmers’ producer groups in Kinole ward, Morogoro rural district where farmer-promoters have developed agro-ecological solutions to problems that are common among many smallholder farmers.
The host smallholder producer groups shared and exchanged knowledge with their fellow farmers from Tanga, Mtwara and Morogoro using their own spice farm as a group’s demonstration farm. Host farmers explained and responded to questions including the types of spices found on the farm (that included cloves, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and banana plants), farm management and soil fertility.
Apart from these exchanges of knowledge and experiences farmers from Mtwara and Tanga also got plants and indigenous seeds to plant back at their group’s demonstration farms. The visitors were astonished with the way host farmers’ ecological spice farms and environment are nurtured and how cool it is to visit and experience these areas.
Smallholder farmers’ members of MVIWATA in Kinole ward, Morogoro rural district are engaged in spice production based on agro-ecological farming methods that depend on local realities of local knowledge and creativity.
Strategizing grassroots producer groups’ to practice agro-ecological farming methods.
After a field visit to host smallholder farmers’ demonstration farms, participants sat and strategized on the way forward for agro-ecological farming among smallholder farmers. Ms, Rukia from Tanga said apart from sensitizing smallholder farmers to be members of MVIWATA she will also sensitize them through her group’s demonstration farms to practice agro-ecological farms of which it is a new concept to most farmers but with a demonstration farm they will easily grasp the concept and practice it.
Participants also agreed to establish an indigenous seed banks in their producer groups as a strategy to preserve the endangered indigenous seeds and also as a strategy to sabotage and break the stranglehold of debt on farming households by purchasing zero off-farm inputs.
MVIWATA has been organizing grassroots agro-ecological and climate justice movements with the idea of using agro-ecological practices based totally on resources found on the farm, like mulching, organic amendments, and diversification.
MVIWATA seeks to build awareness to smallholder food producers for the defence of peasant and indigenous knowledge and materials against corporate land grabbing and change public policies towards food sovereignty, based on agrarian reform, local markets, and ecological farming.
“THE DEFENDER OF A FARMER IS A FARMER”