Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture in Dodoma with WFP
News24 September 2020
Sorghum production: Climate Smart Agriculture programme beneficiary, Hilda Madege & her daughter at work in Kongwa district, Dodoma region.
“Two years ago, WFP came and started working with us. We learned how to better prepare and maintain our farms and how to manage our harvests to reduce losses. They also brought a new type of sorghum seed that works better with less rain. This last season, we did not get much rain again, but still I was surprised. My harvest did okay.” Hilda Madeje, Climate Smart Agriculture programme beneficiary.
In 2017, the World Bank declared Tanzania a water stressed country. Trends show an increase in temperatures, changes in precipitation levels, and more frequent extreme weather events having a large effect on of communities living in rural areas. Studies suggest that inadequate water management, increased agricultural demand, rapid population growth, and climate change impacts will worsen the situation.
In Tanzania, agriculture provides more than two-thirds of employment and almost half of Tanzania's GDP. As the sector is characterized as female-intensive, the situation of water-stress disproportionately increases the labour burden on women and adolescent girls, who largely depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood. This has knock on impacts on health and nutrition due to obligations to source and carry water for domestic use, as well as lower yields in food crops and a reduction in firewood availability.
Located in the centre of Tanzania, Dodoma is one of the most affected regions, with a long dry season and very little rain fall throughout the year.
Ireland’s strategic partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) supports two comprehensive programmes aimed at improving the lives of refugees and smallholder farmers including young women and girls. These projects are the Sorghum Climate Smart Agriculture in Dodoma region, and providing life-saving food assistance to Burundian and Congolese refugees in the three refugee camps of North-Western Tanzania. Ireland has provided WFP with €3,200,000 since 2017.
This year, Ireland will provide €1.2 million, to support WFP in scaling-up the Sorghum Climate Smart Agriculture programme whilst diversifying into other high value crop chains and general food distribution to refugees. Programming incorporates appropriate COVID-19 preventive measures, to ensure safety and security of programme beneficiaries and stakeholders.
A key part of our support to the Programme has been alignment to the Dodoma Local Government Authority, who consider sorghum as a priority crop able to respond to the semi-arid nature of Dodoma region. The introduction of climate smart agriculture is seen as an opportunity to enhance the resilience of smallholder farmers, especially among women and young people, as vital to protecting the country’s food security, jobs, and economic growth.
To date, the programme has reached 12,000 smallholder farmers and plans to extend to 6,000 more in this new phase, of whom nearly half are women. In the second year of the programme 24,000 acres of sorghum were planted with improved sorghum seed varieties, which can better stand drought. There was also a remarkable increase in demand for improved seeds in the season as the smallholder farmers began to prefer this variety, even being ready to pay out of pocket for it. In addition 187 demonstration plots were set up to promote good agricultural practices.