Belgian Technical Corporation (BTC) together with the Ministry of Agriculture embarked on integrated crop management as means to increase food security and boost farmers’ incomes.
The initiative that incorporates pest control and management, garden hygiene is expected to increase harvests in bananas, maize, cassava, sweet and Irish potatoes, passion fruits and tomatoes.
Dr. Jean Pierre Busogoro, the Technical Assistant in Charge of Research and Extension at BTC noted that through pest control, garden hygiene and use of fertilisers will improve on harvests.
“We put a lot of efforts to manage and control pests which bring about diseases and if farmers learn how to plant safer planting materials and seedlings, this will help to fight these diseases,” he said.
Bugosoro noted that many farmers have been getting low harvests due to poor management of their gardens hence low food production which causes food shortages.
“What we are trying to do is to improve on the knowledge of farmers because they are the ones to do their local evaluation and validation of both varieties and management measures,” he said during a tour to Ngoma district, Eastern Province to assess the measures farmers are using to control pest especially in bananas.
The tour organised by BTC and attended by farmers from Belgium, Burundi, DR Congo and Tanzania, researchers, and private sector players looked at the pest control measures farmers are currently
learning from farmer field schools in Gashanda sector in Ngoma district.
Leen D’hondt , Junior Manager, banana cropping and food security projects from BTC in Tanzania, said that the current crop management through planting of clean planting materials for bananas will help to increase on banana production that plays a key role in boosting agriculture through increased farmers’ incomes.
Meanwhile fiaia 25 and fiaia 17, the two improved and disease resistant banana varieties have been approved and distributed to farmers while the other three varieties are under research.
This, according to researchers, will boost banana production since the varieties grow faster and are disease resistant.