Mbeya & Iringa scoping visit

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AR-NAFAKA Scaling Project

Scoping Visit to Mbeya and Iringa Regions, Tanzania 17 - 28 August, 2015


  • Meeting NAFAKA grantees (Millers and Agro dealers) and subcontractors (MVIWATA, FIPS and IFDC) for awareness and sensitization on the Africa RISING –NAFAKA partnership project expansion in Mbeya and Iringa.
  • Meeting other stakeholders in the maize and rice value chains in Mbeya and Iringa
  • Reaching agreement with NAFAKA grantees and subcontractors on implementation plan for Mbeya and Iringa
  • Familiarize with the project area( Mbarali, Mbozi, Kilolo and Iringa rural districts)
  • Preliminary site selection


Iringa Region
Date Time Location Activity
17/8/2015 7:30am – 8:00am Morogoro Briefing at NAFAKA Morogoro Office
^ 8:00am- 12:00 Iringa Travel to Iringa
^ 3:00pm- 4pm Iringa Municipal Team meeting at NAFAKA Iringa office
^ ^ Iringa Municipal Meeting with FIPS and RUDI at Iringa Office
18/8/2015 8:00am – 4pm Kilolo district Field visit to Kilolo district
^ 4:00pm – 5pm Iringa Municipal Briefing at NAFAKA Iring Office
19/8/2015 8:00am – 4pm Iringa Rural district Field visit to Iringa rural district
^ 4:00pm – 5pm Iringa Municipal Briefing at NAFAK Office
20/8/2015 8:00am – 6pm Iringa rural Field visit to Pawaga and Idodi irrigation schemes
21/8/2015 8:00- 9:00pm Iringa Municipal Briefing at NAFAKA office
^ 10:00- 5pm Iringa Municipal Meeting hub agro dealers and Millers
22/8/2015 8:00am – 2pm Mbeya Travel to Mbeya
23/8/2015 8:00am – 2pm Mbeya Sunday break

Mbeya Region
Briefing at NAFAKA Mbeya Office
Meeting with Millers(Raphael Group & Khebhandza)
2:00pm- 4pm Mbeya Meeting with Millers( Mtenda millers)
^ 4:00pm – 5:00pm Mbeya Briefing at NAFAKA Mbeya Office
25/8/2015 8:00am – 6pm Mbeya Field visit to Mbozi district
26/8/2015 8:00am – 4pm Mbeya Field visit to irrigation schemes in Mbarali district
27/8/2015 8:00am – 6pm Mbeya Meeting selected Mbeya hub-agro dealers
28/8/2015 8:00- 9:00pm Mbeya Briefing at NAFAKA Mbeya office
10:00- 5pm Mbeya Travel to Iringa
24/8/2015 8:00am – 12:00noon Morogoro Travel to Morogoro


Places/institutions visited:

Iringa Region (Kilolo and Iringa rural districts)

  • Public: District local authorities
  • Private: agro-input dealers (Iwawa General supplies and Alpha seeds); NGOs (MaWAKI – Maendeleo ya watu wa Kilolo).
  • Local: farmers and farmer leaders in Boma la Ng’ombe, Kimanda and Nguruhe villages

Mbeya Region (Mbozi, Mbarali and Rungwe districts)

  • Public: District local authorities, Agricultural Research Institute Uyole (ARI-Uyole) and Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST), Chuo cha Kilimo (agricultural training institute), Igurusi
  • Private: Raphael Group (millers and traders), Khebandza marketing company (millers and traders), Kilawa agrodealers, Unyiha Associates (hub agrodealers), Meru agro, farmers rice market at Igurusi (supported by MVIWATA).
  • Local: farmer leaders at Ipatagwa rice scheme, Mbarali district.


Improved seed varieties

  • A number of varieties compatible with what the project is promoting are available from the agroinput supply system. However, given that this is a high altitude area with variations from the current project regions, the respective teams (maize, rice) should meet and carefully develop appropriate protocols. Action: Rice and maize teams
  • Access to the technologies (although available) is poor. NAFAKA has initiated activities to strengthen the rural supply network. Action: entire team led by NAFAKA
  • There is a lot of counterfeit seed on the market, which have the potential to dampen the already low adoption rates of improved varieties. Action: entire team
  • Anecdotal evidence indicates that farmers and agrodealers need to be sensitized about seed selection for agroecological (altitude-related) suitability. Action: entire team led by NAFAKA.
  • Some of the varieties, despite their yield advantage do not take into consideration consumer preferences and the teams need to ensure participatory variety selection before introducing the varieties (e.g. SARO 5 also known as TXD 306 not liked by some farmers because of its ‘chalkiness’ and low aroma which affects its marketability; SEEDCO maize seed does not lead to the preferred quality of maize flour. Action: entire team.
  • Farmers should be trained on seed selection since they tend to recycle seed even for hybrids. Action: Maize team and NAFAKA.

Agronomic practices

  • Soil fertility levels are low in most locations
  • Low mechanization because of high altitude and steep slopes
  • GAP gaps are common in soil fertility management e.g (i) use of fertilizers and other chemicals (e.g. farmers believe that fertilizers lead to soil degradation but it is due to poor fertilizer use); (ii) intercropping/crop rotation.
  • Likewise, training on pests and disease management is needed.
  • Interaction with farmers also indicates that there is inadequate knowledge on agronomic practices such as spacing, thinning, gap filling.

Harvesting and post-harvest handling

  • Except for weeding in paddy rice which is largely mechanized, mechanization is generally poor
  • Common harvesting methods used are wasteful in terms of accelerating waste; the methods are also laborious
  • Transportation and drying methods used are also rudimentary leading to quantitative and qualitative losses
  • Some farmers use PICS bags for storage – thanks to previous efforts by AGRA in the region. However, adoption rates of the bags is still low due to high prices
  • Despite signs of aflatoxin in stored grain and legumes, knowledge of aflatoxins in low among stakeholders interviewed (farmers, traders, university professors)
  • Nutrition practices are also low as evidenced by qualitatively high levels of stunting in the region (and also from literature)
  • The University (MUST) has developed a number of technology prototypes which could help address harvesting and postharvest handling challenges in the region. These should be followed up. Action: NAFAKA and postharvest team.

Community/socioeconomic issues

  • Land tenure system: the system is somehow constraining with respect to sustainable intensification as follows: many farmers outside Mbozi rent land and this affects intensive investment by most in improved technologies. In Mbarali, specifically, farm owners who rent out land discourage tenants from using improved technologies because of the misconception that fertilizers degrade land)
  • Farmers understand the advantage of improved varieties and are eager to adopt. However, they noted (and informed the team) that the risk involved is high: the seed and fertilizers are expensive but the market for farmers’ produce is low and exploitative. As a result, farmers cannot break even as a result of adopting the improved varieties. In addition, their bargaining and negotiation power is low.
  • Extension services (public) in the area is poor. The local extension staff are underfunded (no operating funds for their activities, poor supervision by their superiors) and uncooperative. Agrodealers and NGOs noted that the staff are not motivated to work, even in situations where these demos can be used to train farmers in their areas of jurisdiction. As a result, although it is necessary to work with the local government extension staff if the project interventions are to be sustained, the unreliability of staff is a stumbling block that needs to be handled urgently. Action: Possibility of discussion the matter during the stakeholder’s meetings in October/November

Institutional matters

  • Mbeya and Iringa regions are located in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) which has a number of actors. Of course, many of the Africa RISING institutions and NAFAKA are not yet listed among the actors but USAID is listed – see [[1]] . What this means is that we should familiarize with what these actors are doing and link with those with whom we can realize our goals. Also not listed here but active in Iringa region in the areas where we will work are Clinton Foundation ([[2]]), One acre fund ([[3]] ) and BRITEN (Building Rural Incomes through Enterprise) - [[4]]
  • In addition to the SAGCOT initiative, the region has vibrant institutions whose activities the project should utilize – ARI Uyole and MUST. The team interacted with senior at these institutions and they are eager to work with us.
  • The team is of the view that to achieve good results, agronomists should be recruited from among the former staff pf NAFAKA whose contracts have ended – one in Iringa and two in Mbeya. Action: theme/team leaders from Africa RISING and NAFAKA. In Kilolo, to test the approach of collaboration with local government staff, we plan to work with village based agricultural extension officers supervised by NAFAKA-Africa RISING staff.


(1) Sub-teams (rice, maize, vegetables, postharvest) should meet again to plan for the next quarter which formally starts in October. Note: The project coordinator and NAFAKA staff should be
222involved in these meetings. So, organizing these meetings should involve consultations with the said project team members ‘outside’ the core subteam membership (2) Selection of project villages has started in earnest. In Kilolo district, the district technical staff (DAICO) suggested some villages. Some were not accepted by the team (especially for vegetable
222activities) because most of the farmers in these locations had already received tremendous support from TAPP project which ended recently. For all locations, once the villages are selected
222(NAFAKA will follow up on selection of the initial project villages in all locations),

  • Intensive situational analysis will be done to get more information to inform design of interventions. For the maize team, one of the project team members (Swai) stayed behind to do the assessment.
  • GIS/GPS information will be used to generate maps of the locations Maize and Rice teams.

(3) Selection of project agronomists should be done by the end of September. Action: The maize team leader (Dr Bright Jumbo) should liaise with the NAFAKA team (Victor, Silvanus) and
222Haroon to effect this. (4) The stakeholders’ meeting organized in preparation for the project should be attended by at least one representative from each of the sub-teams. NAFAKA is spearheading this arrangement.