Empowering people with disabilities through organic farming

Dubbed “Tevan”, the group which consists of 11 people with disabilities from the village was established in August 2021, after being trained and supported by experts from the ward, district and Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT).

Farmers have started to reap positive results from the project by harvesting and selling vegetables to villagers and other markets.

“Before, we used to stay at home waiting for family members and loved ones to take care of us, life was so difficult, because sometimes we felt like a burden on the family, so we are really happy with this project. “said Christina Aloyce, secretary of the group.

In an interview with reporters late last year in the village, Christina said they were first taken to the SAT center in Morogoro for a week-long training in organic farming and economic empowerment and then returned to the village to educate and encourage other disabled people to join the group and start farming.

She said: “Being disabled is not the end of everything, it does not guarantee that you cannot wake up and engage in income generating activities, SAT opened our eyes and mindset , we all together agreed to work in synergy and here we are, our farm is doing well and we have started harvesting vegetables to sell but also to take home to improve our meals.

Christina said that if empowered, people with disabilities can achieve great things and shock the public with positive results through their commitment and hard work.

She commended the implementation of the Farmer-Herder Collaboration (FPC) which has transformed the incomes and lives of the majority of the people in the district.

The six-year project (2017-2022) has so far helped install knowledge and skills in organic farming as well as smart animal husbandry for thousands of farmers and herders in the Morogoro region.

“The SAT has supported us with training as well as materials, through all of this has helped us engage effectively in farming and we hope our income will improve as we will harvest more in the coming months,” she added.

She also expressed gratitude to Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) for implementing the project which has brought transformation to the region.

“The project has totally changed our mindset and we are now committed to organic farming while using things we have at home or near our environment to grow our vegetables well and protect them from diseases and diseases. pests,” she said.

Christina further recommended mainstreaming the concerns of persons with disabilities in agriculture to ensure the provision of disability-sensitive and inclusive agricultural services.

Dorothea Oscar, president of the group, said they treat the farm as their office, working from morning to noon and sometimes returning in the evening.

“Instead of working in the morning and waiting for someone to feed us, we now wake up on our farm and enjoy this work because we all come early and work hard, it’s our office,” said she declared.

She also praised the SAT and government experts for supporting and ensuring that they adhere to all farming practices to get the best yields and increase incomes.

“After SAT supported us with training and equipment, the district council also gave us a loan of 2.5 million euros which also helped us expand our farm to grow more vegetables and earn more,” she said.

Erasimus Lupenza, agricultural officer in Mvomero district, said they had worked and served over 8,000 farmers in the district.

“We educate farmers on best farming practices, encouraging them to form groups to facilitate access to capital and loans to achieve their goals,” he said.

He also praised the SAT for supporting government efforts in instilling important agricultural skills among farmers, including special groups.

Supported by Biovision and Liechtensteiner Development Service (LED), the main objective of the FPC project is to improve the sustainable livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists through agro-ecological practices creating a solution where both parties can create savings. local circulars, everyone benefits and conflicts are considerably reduced. .

Rashid Mallya, FPC Project Manager, said the organization is implementing various projects to support farmers with adequate knowledge and skills, especially in the field of organic farming.

“We have trained farmers in conservation agriculture as well as smart animal husbandry, thousands of farmers and herders in Morogoro and other parts of the country have benefited from the trainings organized and changed their mindsets, we have projects that touch all groups and bring a positive impact in communities and the nation as a whole,” he explained.

Mallya said the FPC project instilled organic farming knowledge and skills among the groups, thereby promoting natural and conservation farming, which ultimately helped improve incomes and reduce conflicts between farmers and herders.

He said it is high time for farmers to start engaging in high value crops such as vegetables, short term fruits, mushrooms, aquaculture and poultry in the areas where they are. and that they can make good profits, thus transforming their lives.

He further stated that the country needs to undergo a mindset transformation among young people to change their negative perceptions towards agriculture with the aim of attracting more young people into agribusinesses, a measure which will reduce the current challenge of unemployment.

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