ZMAG advises Zanzibars to take up organic farming

ZMAG members and various agricultural stakeholders gave advice here over the weekend in a session to review how the VIUNGO project continues to be implemented and bring about change in the vegetable, fruit and vegetable sector. spices to bring productivity to the islands.

The VIUNGO project is a project aimed at unlocking the potential of the horticultural value chain, increasing the value and volume of high quality products in the markets and promoting inclusive economic growth in Zanzibar

The meeting was made possible by the Zanzibar Ministry of Agriculture and brought together stakeholders from various institutions including government, non-governmental organizations and farmers.

One of the participants, Ali Abdalla, said that there are a large number of people in the community who still do not understand the importance of using foods produced from natural fertilizers and “that is why nowadays, most people continue to use food produced with the help of chemicals, which is very dangerous for health and the earth as well”.

He said various studies have shown that many people contract different diseases from consuming inorganically produced foods, despite the fact that most of them are aware of the consequences.

“It is high time people knew how the harvest produced before they bought from the market,” he suggested.

An expert from the Zanzibar Ministry of Agriculture, Omar Abuubakari, said many farmers grow their crops using chemical fertilizers for higher productivity as opposed to using natural fertilizers.

In this context, he suggested the need for more efforts, including providing education to the community so that they can realize the importance of using organically grown foods.

Director of the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA-Zanzibar), Dr Mzuri Issa, said that as they continued to reflect on the situation, it was important to look at both sides, given that chemical fertilizers are a company that many rely on and that organic food is healthier.

“The most important issue here is that the community is educated so that they can understand the effects of using foods produced using chemical fertilizers and shown the benefits of using organic fertilizers. ‘natural fertilizers,’ she suggested.

Dr. Mzuri believes the system will provide in-depth education and let people decide for themselves which products to use in their daily lives.

Amina Ussi Khamis, project manager of VIUNGO, said it was about empowering farmers in Unguja and Pemba through better farming methods, noting that the project strives to enhance food and nutrition security of households by promoting sustainable agricultural production, which aims to produce more from small areas of land to house while conserving resources, reducing negative environmental impacts and improving natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services .

The VIUNGO project stands for ‘Zanzibar Value Web, Horticulture, and Income Growth project’, and it also integrates agricultural development, gender, financial inclusion and nutritional development efforts to improve the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in the within the horticultural value chain in Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba) .

Khamis mentioned that the project is funded by the European Union (EU) for a period of four years (from 2020) with a budget of more than 5 million euros, and is implemented by Peoples Development Forum ( PDF) in collaboration with Community Forest Pemba (CFP) and the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) in Zanzibar.

The overall objective of the project is to unlock the potential of the horticulture value chain, increase the value and volume of high quality products in markets and promote inclusive economic growth in Zanzibar. Horticulture is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in Tanzania and is dominated by smallholder farmers, providing opportunities to strengthen the country’s national economy while directly and immediately improving the incomes of a large segment of the population.

Zanzibar is a unique area in this national context and the VIUNGO project is designed to overcome the specific local challenges of this sub-region, such as its limited land base, by taking advantage of its particular advantages. Advantages include a long-established spice-growing tradition and relative proximity to high-end markets and major seaports.

The project will also focus on improving horticultural products and the incomes of smallholder farmers. “This will be done through the introduction of climate-smart horticulture and good agricultural practices to help increase the production and productivity of quality horticultural products,” she said.

It also enhances improved food and nutrition security for smallholder farmers and their families through the establishment of permaculture vegetable gardens, as well as value addition and local business development with a focus on on fair trade partnerships and women’s economic empowerment.

The project is implemented in nine districts of Zanzibar (four in Pemba and five in Unguja) focusing mainly on the vegetable, fruit and spice sub-sectors. The VIUNGO project aims to reach 57,974 direct beneficiaries which include horticulturists, processors, agro-dealers and horticultural smallholders), while among these beneficiaries, at least 55% are women, 33% young people and 12% are men.

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