Katavi, Tanzania: Located in the verdant region of Katavi, the Mlele District, renowned for its pioneering role in peanut cultivation, is on the verge of a remarkable transformation. Anticipating a further rise in crop yields, the district plans to invest in a fleet of high-tech peanut shelling machines slated for deployment across its wards. This agricultural innovation arises from an inspiring success story: last year’s national champion in peanut farming harvested an astounding 300 kilograms of peanuts per acre.
In an exclusive interview, Ilela Ward’s Agriculture Officer, Isabela Pastory, shed light on the driving force behind this agricultural leap forward. A groundbreaking variety of seeds, developed and distributed by the Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Naliendele, has rewritten the script for local peanut farmers. One such farmer, known only as Boaz, took center stage last year by leveraging these modern seeds and completely overhauling his farming practices to achieve unprecedented success.
“After securing these revolutionary seeds, we designed a series of interactive field-based workshops for our farmers,” Pastory explained. “The lessons learned in these workshops catalyzed a transition from low-yield farming practices that barely reaped 9 kilograms per acre to a more dynamic, disease-resistant, and productive approach to farming.”
While the district waits for the official harvest statistics, Pastory noted that farmers are already voicing their experiences of this transformative journey from field classes to bountiful yields. The noticeable positive impact on their farms has made them staunch advocates for modern agricultural practices.
Recognizing the urgency of completely phasing out traditional seeds, Pastory issued a call to TARI researchers to continue their partnership in this transformative agricultural project. The traditional seeds, often yielding poorer results, have held back farmers’ economic progress. According to Pastory, the farmers, now awakened to the potential of modern farming, are pressing for more access to modern seeds.
Daudi Kibiriti, a farmer from the idyllic Ipwaga village, praised the impact of the TARI seeds on his farm. The shift from traditional Malawi seeds to the TARI variety brought a significant increase in his harvests.
“These research seeds for peanut farming have ushered in a new era of agriculture for us,” Kibiriti enthused. “They outperform the traditional seeds in every aspect – from maturation speed to the sheer quantity of harvest.”
Juma Mfaume, a leading researcher at TARI Naliendele, expressed his gratitude to the farmers for their collaboration and reiterated his commitment to sparking further transformations in Mlele’s peanut farming landscape.
He revealed that the council had introduced 16 different seeds, working hand-in-hand with the farmers to evaluate their efficacy and suitability for the local climate and soil conditions.
Speaking of these modern seeds, Mfaume said, “Their robustness against drought and diseases makes them a game-changer in the field. It’s no wonder that we’re urging farmers to integrate these seeds into their farming in greater numbers. Our goal is a resilient, productive agricultural sector that guarantees prosperity for our farmers.”
This ambitious vision for Mlele District signifies an exciting chapter in its agricultural narrative, offering not just a glimpse of the future of farming, but a sustainable blueprint for districts nationwide.