Mtowisa, Sumbawanga, Rukwa Region, Tanzania – Amid the stunning vistas of Tanzania’s Rukwa Region, in the small farming town of Mtowisa, Ismahili Mnyepa, a local farmer, is sounding an alarm. With crop yields decreasing and the visible deterioration of local farmlands, Mnyepa is asking for immediate government intervention in the form of agricultural expertise and subsidized fertilizer.
“We used to use natural fertilizer, but it’s running out. The synthetic alternatives we’ve been supplied with in the past have done more harm than good,” Mnyepa shared, underlining the gravity of the issue.
Mnyepa’s concerns aren’t just personal. They resonate with a broader challenge confronting Tanzanian agriculture, where diminishing soil fertility is an increasing threat to the nation’s food security. Mnyepa and his fellow farmers in Mtowisa have been wrestling with these issues without adequate expert guidance.
A potential resolution might be hidden in the region’s geography. There are suggestions that limestone, a soil-enriching mineral, might be present in the nearby mountains. Mnyepa and his peers conducted initial research, but their efforts have been hampered due to a lack of professional support.
“There is a type of mineral, limestone, that experts mention. We found indications of it in the mountains, but we can’t leverage this knowledge without governmental support,” Mnyepa expressed.
The farmers believe the appropriate use of this limestone could help rejuvenate their flagging lands. However, Mnyepa stresses the urgent need for government action.
“The government needs to understand the true significance of agriculture, what it brings, and its impact on the environment,” Mnyepa implored, drawing attention to the intrinsic link between the health of the land and that of its people.
The dedicated farmer urges the government to send experts to evaluate the soil and provide subsidized lime fertilizer. He believes these measures would boost crop yields and reaffirm the agricultural sector’s essential role in Tanzania’s economy.
Mnyepa’s plea serves as a sobering reminder of the pressing issues plaguing Tanzanian agriculture. In his words, “When people say human resources, these are derived from the land. If the land is good, then the people will be good, and their government will be good.”
Ismahili Mnyepa’s call for action is a wake-up call to all, a plea for unity in adversity, and a reminder of the crucial role agriculture plays in Tanzania’s economic and social fabric.