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A Memorable Field Day in Tanzania

Posted On: July 5, 2023

On 26 June, we held our first Field Day in the Ifakara district of south-central Tanzania. Located in the Morogoro region, Ifakara is a new location for East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT). Although we have only been active in this area since April, we have already accomplished a lot. 

About 270 people attended the Field Day, surpassing our goal of 200. This exciting event brought together smallholder farmers and an array of other stakeholders, including government officials, community workers, vegetable buyers, and agricultural-input dealers. Youth enrolled in agricultural training under the national Building a Better Tomorrow program participated in the event as well.

Listening to speakers at the Field Day.

On-Field Training

The Field Day was held at the farm of John Mshimika and showcased his tomato demonstration plot—grown using improved techniques from EWS-KT and seeds from East-West Seed (Dhahabu F1 variety). Attendees toured his demo field to see for themselves the results of good agricultural practices. 

Field Days usually include on-field training sessions, and participants at this event learned about organic mulching to maintain soil moisture, safe practices when using chemicals, and live vegetation barriers to protect vegetable crops from pests and wind. In addition, training was provided on hybrid tomato varieties that are resistant to wilt, as this is a widespread problem facing tomato farmers in the area.

The training was broadcast live by Pambazuko FM radio, and the radio station also promised to air a 15-minute documentary on our work to reach more farmers in the Ifakara area.

on-field training at Field Day in Ifakara
A group at the Field Day participating in an on-field training session.

From Nutrition to Market Needs: A Wide Range of Speakers

Attending as the guest of honor was Elias Shemtoi, the Head of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries for Ifakara district, who was accompanied by the district’s Irrigation and Ward Government Extension Officer. In his speech, Elias Shemtoi talked about the involvement of horticulture value chain actors, especially government extension officers and community facilitators, to ensure the sustainability of knowledge transfer activities. He is pleased with the way EWS-KT is engaging all stakeholders and was happy to see them participating in the Field Day event.

Key farmer and Field Day host John Mshimika spoke about the differences he has seen in his crops after starting to work with EWS-KT Technical Field Officer Winnie Kessy, and he vowed to continue implementing the techniques he has learned.

Also presenting at the Field Day was a community health worker, who educated participants about the different nutritional food groups and how each contributes to the health of farmers and their families. She then cooked a dish made from all the food groups and distributed it to everyone at the event. 

A number of people in the horticultural value chain addressed the assembled crowd. An agro-input dealer talked to farmers about the availability of inputs at his shop in Ifakara, and a vegetable buyer from the Ifakara market spoke about the quality of tomatoes needed in the market. In addition, a community facilitator outlined the support he provides to farmers and shared his contact information for future use.

EWS-KT staff, East-West Seed representatives, and government extension officers were also available to respond to participants’ questions during a joint question-and-answer session. 

This highly successful Field Day event not only introduced EWS-KT and our goals and expertise to hundreds of farmers and community members but also strengthened new relationships in the Ifakara region as we work to build better connectivity across the agricultural sector for smallholder farmers.