Tag Archives: Tanzania

Today, I get my three meals a day

Shrubs, thorny bushes, cactus trees, sandy soils and rocky terrain characterise Same district in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, which lies on the lee-ward side of the Pare Mountains. It hardly rains in this region. When it does, rain water floods the lowlands; transport is a nightmare, water runoff from the highlands ruins crops on its way down.

As a result, agriculture in this area is a real challenge for farmers. Most agricultural practices in Same are traditional and depend on rainfall, limited small-scale irrigation and low levels of technological and other inputs. The farming is largely subsistence, with typically low yields obtained for key crops. In some parts of the district, the presence of permanent or temporary surface water provides opportunities for irrigation, earning the farmers higher yields.

Where irrigation infrastructure exists, poor construction means that losses through seepage may amount to 80 percent. Other challenges include low soil fertility caused by prolonged use of disc ploughs in lower lands, use of unimproved or contaminated seeds and improper spacing of different crops.

Further compounding agricultural development in the area is rainfall variability. The lowland plateau receives less than 500mm of rainfall annually; the midlands get 800-1,250mm while the highlands make do with 1,250-2,000mm a year.

With such conditions, many farmers remain trapped in low input, low output agricultural development, with few opportunities to increase income and food security. Consequently, in most years the government is obliged to provide food aid to farmers with outputs so low they can hardly sustain their own families.

Doris Japheth is one such farmer. When the government food aid was not available, she and her three children, Janet Mboneya, 22, Veronica Bonashamba, 19, and Japheth, 3, went hungry. If they were lucky, they had one meal a day.

Doris.
Doris shows off a potato from her garden

Whereas she owns three acres of land in Vudee highlands in the district, Doris cultivated beans, tomatoes, maize and potatoes on two and a half acres. She doubled as a casual labourer in other people’s farms in the Bangalala lowlands. Despite every effort she put in the garden, Doris was unable to harvest much. And yet, the wages from farm labour were hardly enough to sustain her family. She earned Tsh3,000 ($1.8) a day for her efforts.

“I did not know how to make my land productive. The area is hilly and whenever it rained, my crops were washed away along with the water running downhill,” says Doris.

That season in 2013, Doris planted an acre each of beans and potatoes and a quarter acre each of maize and tomatoes. However, she only harvested one bag of maize, one bag of beans, two bags of potatoes and 12 tins of tomatoes. The produce fetched very low prices in the market. She sold only two tins of beans for Tsh5,000 ($3) a tin, tomatoes at Tsh5,000 ($3) a tin and the bag of potatoes at Tsh48,000 ($29).

The 41-year-old adds, “Due to the poor crop yields, life was so tough for me and my children. There was never enough food for my family. I was forced to buy food from the market and yet the money I made was not enough to take care of the household needs, cover my monthly house rent and pay school fees for my children.”

Watching her children go hungry, perhaps, was the most painful thing Doris endured.

“Many times I cried in my bed at night thinking about where our next meal was coming from. I couldn’t afford to feed them three meals a day. I had to ration the money I earned so on most days, the children and I went without breakfast. For lunch, I prepared a cup of porridge for each of them and I went without lunch. The main meal was at night when I prepared maize meal and beans,” she says.

To supplement her income, Doris engaged in other commercial activities such as making gravel at a local quarry. With the rocky terrain, the quarry provides employment for the locals. To get gravel, one has to crush huge rocks and splinter them into tiny pieces. The only available tool is a hammer. While this was so labour intensive, it earned her slightly higher wages than that from the farms.

“For each bucket of gravel I crushed, I earned Tsh1,000 ($0.6). I was able to make up to five

Doris

buckets a day, which earned me Tsh5,000 ($3). The work was so challenging because sometimes I hit my fingers using the hammer. I would get wounds and blisters on my hands and aches all over my body from the intense work,” says the single mother.

Working on farms on the lowlands was equally tedious.

“Since I live in the highlands, I would wake up at 4:00am in the morning and start walking to the farm. It took me at least two hours to get there. I would work until evening and then walk back home at 4:00pm to take care of my family. I spent two hours to and fro, meaning I spent four hours of my day just walking. Sometimes, the weather changed and it rained while I was either on my way to the farm or at the farm, getting me wet,” says Doris, adding, “It was very difficult working all day on an empty stomach but I had to keep going for my children.

“Sometimes, I stopped the children from going to school so they could help me in the garden or quarry so we could earn more money.”

When the children fell sick, Doris borrowed money from her neighbours to clear hospital bills. And when they healed, she went back to doing petty jobs in order to pay her debts.

“It was so discouraging working all day and making so little, until one day last year, when I received a phone call from a friend telling me about an organisation that was planning to start training farmers on better farming practices and how to get good yields. I decided to join the group and attended my first meeting. I must say I was very lucky that CARE International selected me as a champion farmer in their Global Water Initiative East Africa programme.”

Doris
Doris in her maize plantation

Among the new conservation agriculture techniques Doris learnt was bench terraces, which she uses to manage runoff and retain soil moisture content. She also uses compost manure to fertilise her crops. In addition, she practices cover cropping, mixed cropping and crop rotation where she plants maize, beans, potatoes and tomatoes alternately.

“The training I have received from CARE has made a positive impact on my life. I have experienced increased yields; I can cultivate on a small piece of land and get high yields,” she says.

Only recently, Doris enjoyed a good harvest. From a quarter acre of land, she harvested six tins of potatoes, weighing 6kg each and sold them at Tsh10,000 ($6) each.

“Today, my life has changed. I feel privileged to say that currently I don’t experience any food insecurity. I get my three meals a day. I feed my family in the morning, afternoon and evening based on the new practices I have adopted. I no longer walk to the lowlands to cultivate but use my own land here in the highlands. When I harvest, I have enough food to sell and get an income but also enough food to last until the next harvest.”

Now, Doris expects other people to come and labour in her gardens for a fee.

“It’s a bad thing if God is performing miracles in your life and you don’t appreciate,” she says.

“Although I don’t have a house right now, I believe that I will have a very good house in the near future.”

CARE writing competition
Elizabeth sports a certificate of appreciation and t-shirt, awarded her for this Human Interest Story on Doris Japeth

Elizabeth Agiro,
GWI EA, Uganda

Bosco, a Champion farmer leading by example

Champion farmer selection was one of the initial and important steps in the implementation of Water Smart Agriculture by GWI EA across the three programme countries, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Findings from an internal programme evaluation in Same district, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, indicate a major transformation in farmers’ efforts to improve their livelihoods by raising food production and increasing household income, through the adoption of water smart agriculture practices as a sustainable remedy to the unfavourable climate and environment.

Bosco garden
Bosco in his maize garden

Bosco Masawe, 54, a champion farmer in Ruvu Mferejini village is fondly called “Tyson” not only because of a well built body structure, but also his efforts in practicing water smart agriculture. During our focus group discussion, his peers singled him out as an outstanding champion farmer in the area.

Located some 28km from Same town, Bosco’s farm is the embodiment of Water Smart Agriculture practices including ridges, made through double digging, crop residues applied as compost manure, agroforestry fruit trees, to serve as boundaries on his farm and irrigation through tapped water from River Pangani. As other farmers struggle to cope with the unfavourable climatic conditions and the environment, Bosco’s 2-acre farm is ever green and never short of crops to harvest. He hires labour to support him especially in preparing the land for cultivation and, on average, pays Tshs30,000 ($18) for work done on half an acre. He keeps records of all quantities and costs of inputs applied, including harvests attained.

Bosco
A stream from River Pangani used by Bosco to irrigate his crops

With all these efforts, productivity on his small farm has improved from 7 bags of maize per acre to 12 bags, thus raising his income per season from Tshs600,000 ($364) to 1,500,000 ($910). Most recently, he earned Tsh100,000 ($61) from his small vegetable garden. Through savings and using part of his farm income, he has constructed a modern toilet facility for his family, the only one of its kind in the village, setting him back some Tshs3,000,000 ($1,820). In addition, he has also constructed a small shop for his wife along the village road to sell agricultural produce as it’s directly harvested from his farm.
A small shop constructed for sale of agricultural produce

His success can largely be attributed to the water smart agriculture interventions he received in form of trainings and exchange visits. In addition, GWI facilitated him and seven other champion farmers to attend the annual “Nane Nane Agricultural Show” in Arusha, which brings together motivated farmers from all corners of the country. At this event, participants are privileged to learn different things such as appropriate and modern farming practices and technologies. With exhibition stalls spread across several hectares of land, all forms of agriculture are represented including big and small scale farms sharing their successes and challenges from which farmers learn. Bosco used this opportunity to buy a tool kit at Tshs10,000 ($6) to supplement his water smart agriculture knowledge and skills. The information from the tool kit has enhanced his skills in quality seed selection and treatment. To demonstrate this, he was able to select and treat 20kgs of quality maize seeds from his own harvest for the next planting season.

Bosco is not selfish with his success; He is supporting farmers in his village and beyond to

Bosco's shop
Bosco’s shop constructed for sale of agricultural produce

adopt the best practices from which he has greatly benefited. He is among the many champion farmers who have strongly demonstrated that, through Water Smart Agriculture, productive farming is possible even in harsh climatic conditions and environments. His fellow champion farmers from Ruvu Mferejini village perhaps describe him best, saying, “His improvement in livelihood reflects his field efforts.”

Clement Mayanja
GWI EA, Uganda

 

Sustainable crop production now a reality in Ruvu Mferejini

The journey to meet farmers in Ruvu Mferejini village, in Same district, Tanzania, for a focus group discussion to verify and document the impact of GWI EA’s programme on Water Smart Agriculture, took me through rugged (rocky and rough) roads that lead to the smallholder farms and settlements.

On the 26km dusty road, a dark cloud hangs as a sign of impending rain. Donath Fungu, a well known and respected agronomist with reliable knowledge on the local climatic conditions and variations in Same district, informs me that it will not rain until November. I learn that this community last received rainfall in June and the dry spell is yet to end. Ruvu Mferejini, a water-stressed village, drained by River Pangani, lies in the low lands of Same district and is one of those areas in the Kilimanjaro region with a long annual dry spell that runs from June to November. Isolated and extensive fields of dry vegetation with strong, winds raising dust, illustrate the effects of the dry spell. Limited green vegetation is visible only in areas where heavy flooding occurs.

Dry vegetation
The dry vegetation and soils in Ruvu Mferejini village

Inadequate rains, coupled with high evaporation rates, necessitate farmers to carry out supplementary irrigation to prevent crop failure. Supplementary irrigation, however, is only possible to the few farmers whose gardens have proximity to River Pangani. The agricultural practice, however, is not of much help since the available water from the river is under utilised by farmers. This means that farmers have to irrigate every week because they lack knowledge on how to minimise high evaporation rates. To add to the misery of farmers who struggle to survive in such a water-stressed environment, is the increasingly declining soil fertility as evidenced by no or low yields.

From discussions with farmers, it is evident that soil infertility in the area is a result of a combination of traditional farming practices and unfavourable climatic conditions, especially high temperatures. Mono cropping, continuous cultivation without fallowing, slash and burn and grazing on productive lands are emphasised by champion farmers as the major causes of soil infertility in the area. The result of this nature of climate and environment is limited ability of farmers to feed their families and also graduate out of absolute poverty. It is against this background that GWI’s Water Smart Agriculture interventions in this village are justified, not only to improve the food security situation, but also encourage sustainable household income.

CFs
Clement with Champion farmers from Ruvu Mferejini village

Before my travel to Tanzania, I had randomly selected champion farmers including Bosco Masawe, Abdu Mtoi, Paul Romani, Angelina Shaban, Safinah Saidi and Amiri Abdallah. They were to provide me with primary data on the extent to which GWI’s programme on water smart agriculture had transformed their livelihood in relation to improved food security and income. During the discussion, farmers narrated their situation before and after GWI EA’s water smart agriculture interventions.

Like many other smallholder farmers in East Africa, these farmers initially depended on unpredictable and inadequate rains for crop production. Given the unfavourable climatic changes with declining soil fertility, sustainable crop production was a big dream for these farmers. They lacked information and practical skills on how to respond to the climatic changes, effective and efficient utilisation of water on farm including irrigation, application of conservation agriculture and quality seed selection.

GWI EA’s water smart interventions, applied to selected champion farmers, included provision of trainings, practical demonstrations, extension support visits and facilitation of farmer exchange visits. With such support, champion farmers adopted several water smart agriculture practices including double digging, use of ridges, planting cover crops, use of crop residues as compost, mixed cropping and quality seed selection and treatment, which they had never done before. These practices not only increased and retained moisture in the soil, but also regenerated soil fertility. From an average land size of 1.75 acres by the interviewed farmers, an average increment in maize yield of 7 bags (each bag is 100kgs) were remarkably registered.

Masawe Bosco
Champion Farmer Bosco Masawe in his garden, Ruvu Mferejini village

Currently, farmers have enough for home consumption as well as retaining a surplus for sale. Their knowledge on dealing with unpredictable climatic conditions has improved, in addition to effectively and efficiently utilising water from River Pangani for irrigation to sustain crop production during drought. They have also voiced their water for production concerns to political leaders during village meetings. For example, improvement of irrigation channels in the village is one of the issues they have raised.

GWI EA believes that the voice of smallholder farmers, especially women, is important in influencing government decisions and priorities in favour of water smart agriculture for smallholder farmers. This is because social inequalities that increase vulnerability to climate change among women should be addressed in any climate change interventions. GWI EA programme on water smart agriculture has therefore demonstrated that climate change requires that policymakers and practitioners take water for agriculture into account when designing food security programmes. Thus, food security programmes should consider integrating efforts to build the capacity of poor communities to effectively and efficiently manage water on their farms.

Clement Mayanja,
GWI EA, Uganda

Casual labour wages couldn’t sustain Abraham’s family

For a long time, Abraham Pote worked as a casual labourer on farms around his community in Vudee on the slopes of the Pare Mountains in Tanzania. The 45-year-old earned between Tsh1,500-Tsh2,000 a day for his efforts, which earnings he used to buy the basic necessities for his family. That, however, was not enough to cover all the requirements.

Desperate to supplement his income, the father of four ventured into brick-making, for whoever was in need of material to construct a house. This tedious work requires one to wake up at dawn in order to rack up a high number of bricks and earn a decent wage. For each brick made, Abraham earned Tsh20. He made up to 300 bricks a day, which earned him Tsh6,000.

Although this was an upgrade from the wages as a casual labourer, Abraham frequently had to bargain for food on credit from the shops. The manual labour just was not cutting it for him. He needed to be able to provide frequent meals for his wife and children. Agriculture seemed the logical answer to his problems. He figured, with this, he would provide enough food for his family and have some left over for sale.

While he owned plenty of land, he lacked the necessary skills and knowledge to make it productive. This didn’t stop him from trying. He bought seeds from any supplier ignorant of quality differences. Soon, he planted onions using traditional methods of farming and waited on the rains to bail him out. Needless to say, his harvest was nothing to write home about. He reaped 3 bags of onions from one acre of land.

Perhaps 2013 can be described as Abraham’s turning point. He was selected as one of Same-Abraham.1more than 60 Champion Farmers from Same, a semi arid district in the Kilimanjaro region.

With training from GWI EA, Abraham learnt techniques such as double digging, cover cropping, mixed cropping and bench terracing, which enabled him practice water and soil conservation and produce higher yields. Armed with these new skills, Abraham gave onions a second go and produced 20 bags worth Tsh2m (USD 1,205) from half an acre of land.

From these earnings, he was able to pay school fees for his children and also purchase a truck of manure for his farm. In addition, he paid for the connection of electricity to his house.

Today, Abraham is a role model to other farmers in the village. They visit his garden regularly for continual lessons and have adopted his methods.

Elizabeth Agiro
GWI EA, Uganda

Semi-arid Conditions Favour Sunflower

While Samweli Mchome is not among the Champion Farmers selected for the GWI EA training project in Tanzania last year, his enthusiasm for following in the footsteps of those who were handpicked has borne fruits.

When he noticed his neighbours’ crops in Mwembe, Vudee and Bangalala had significantly started performing well, he wanted to know the secret. So he shadowed them, picking up new techniques on water and soil conversation. Where before he cultivated on slopes without preparing the land, he now creates bench terraces to minimise runoff. He was also encouraged to adopt crop spacing, plant one seedling per hole, mulch his garden and practice double digging to ensure water infiltration and moisture retention.

With the additional help of government extension workers and GWI field officers in Bangalala village, Samweli picked up enough lessons to revamp his gardens.

When we visited him in early July this year, the 53-year-old had planted sun flower on one acre of land. He explained that it was towards the off season and most farmers had harvested their crops. Also, sunflower is drought tolerant – given the semi arid conditions in Same district – and he wanted to utilise the land without leaving it idle. After some assessment, he concluded that the available water would be adequate for his crop. Although aware that there will be limited water during the season, he knows that his soil has good water storage ability.

“Sunflower has deep roots which can access water from the ground. Since I planted in May, I have irrigated only twice,” he said.

Samweli in his sunflower garden
Samweli in his sunflower garden
Sunflower is a drought resistant crop favourable for semi arid conditions
Sunflower is a drought resistant crop favourable for semi arid conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samweli owns about four acres of land. He practices mixed cropping by planting maize and pigeon peas on the same plot. Last season, he harvested a small plot and got three tins (20kg each), a feat he had never achieved before.

Elizabeth Agiro
GWI EA, Uganda

 

 

 

 

 

Gardening Made Easy

For quick food around the home, Rizaeli Samweli, a Champion Farmer in Mwembe village in Kilimanjaro region, got creative and set up a vegetable kitchen garden in front of her house. These usually come in handy for people living in apartments who lack the necessary land to grow crops. They hang pots from the roofs; make use of the balcony and whatever available space they can pack a pot.

However, it wasn’t for lack of land that Rizaeli planted spinach in a sack. Rather, it was for convenience. She wanted something close enough from which she could pluck vegetables for a quick meal in her home.

How did she do this?

All she needed was a sack, a mixture of fertile soil, sand and farmyard manure, gravel, a bucket and a big strong stick/pole.

For measurements, she mixed one bag of soil, half a bag of sand and quarter of manure. She fixed the strong pole in the ground, cut the sack at the bottom to create two gaping holes, and dressed the pole. Using a small bucket, also open at both ends, she placed it inside the sack to straddle the pole. Once the bucket was at the bottom of the sack, she filled it with gravel on the inside and the sand, soil and manure mixture on the outside. She then lifted the bucket out and repeated the process of filling gravel in the middle and the soil-sand-manure mixture on the outside. Once the sack was full, the pole was able to hold it in place.

Thereafter, she poked holes in the side of the sack and placed transplanted seedlings through the holes and into the soil on the side of the sack.

Rizaeli prepared this garden in May this year by planting spinach (locally known as sukuma wiki) and has already harvested three times. She intends to keep the garden for another eight months.

 

Rizaeli1jpg
Rizaeli (in green) showing some farmers and GWI EA staff her garden

“The beauty about this garden is that it requires very little maintenance,” she says. “For water, I ask the children to wash their faces over the sack in the morning and their hands before meal times.”

This little water is all the garden needs to survive. Due to the gravel, there is very little weeding required.

Elizabeth Agiro
GWI EA, Uganda

 

Cultivating Against the Odds

Shrubs, thorny bushes, dry patched land and sandy soils characterise the terrain in the lowlands of Ruvu Jiugeni village, Same district, Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania. It hardly ever rains, considering it is on the lee ward side of the Pare Mountains. When it does rain, it floods; transport is a nightmare during such times since the roads become slippery, water logged and impassable.

 
Nasib Rashid, however, has overcome the odds to practice agriculture in the area. Coming from brown desolate scenery, his garden provides pleasant relief; lush green shoots stretching for several meters. On his one and a half acre plot of land, Rashid initially cultivated maize. Ignorant of any modern farming techniques at the time, he practiced only border farming, where he created borders around sub plots of land, where in the event of rain, water was trapped to keep the crops moist longer. This, however, did not save him from the disastrous harvests that followed. He harvested 5 bags of maize each weighing 100kg.

Nasib
Champion Farmer Nasib Rashid

Last year, GWI EA recruited Rashid as one of the Champion Farmers who would benefit from training on new and improved agronomic skills, which would enable them not only conserve soil, but water as well and produce better yields. During the training, Rashid learnt about double tillage, where farmers dig twice as deep to enhance better water infiltration and moisture retention. A combination of the latter and his border methods soon produced better results for Rashid. With the addition of manure to his maize, Rashid realised 17 bags at his next harvest.

 
“I am very happy that I got very high yields since I received training from GWI EA,” he says.

His next attempt is with onions. On a recent visit to Same, Rashid boasted of one and a half acres of onions for which he has carefully followed instructions. A stream connecting from River Nyumba ya Mungu in Mwanga district flows on the outskirts of his plot. He benefits from this through the canals coursing through the small plots on his land, which in turn flow into the onion gardens thus irrigating them.

Nasib-garden
Nasib Rashid shares tips with other Champion Farmers

 

However, Rashid still faces some challenges; Poor road infrastructure perhaps is the biggest. Additionally, sometimes prices fall at the time of selling the produce, which cuts deeply into his profits, considering the expenses of investing in onions.

 

“It is very expensive in terms of the pesticides I buy to protect the crop against diseases.”

 
Other times, the crop is affected by diseases he is not familiar with. And yet, government extension workers are few and far between so he can’t get much needed technical advice in time to save his crop.
Despite the challenges, Rashid has vowed to continue adopting new practices to further improve his yields and ensure food security in his household.

 
Elizabeth Agiro
GWI EA, Uganda

Meet Mrindoko, A True Champion Farmer in Bangalala

Mrindoko
Champion Farmer Ali Mrindoko

Ali Mrindoko, 55, lives in Bangalala village, in the South Pare Mountains, Same district, in the north east of Tanzania. Like majority of the people in Bangalala, he lives off his land where he grows both food crops and cash crops. But something makes his plot of land stand out—during a typical dry spell his crops are greener.

In 2005, Mrindoko started implementing the conservation agriculture technique of stone terracing. This involves digging terraces and building stone embankments along the contours. It reduces run-off and in effect controls soil erosion while increasing the soil’s water retention capacity.It is hard and labour intensive but the result is better yields.

Stones and trees
Mrindoko’s homestead is surrounded by healthy, green crops. We ask him why the farmers around him are not applying stone terracing.

Stone Terrace
Mrindoko’s stone terraces

“It is labour intensive. The flat stones needed for the work can be challenging to produce,” he tells us. “Otherwise I am always happy to help other farmers implement the method and to share my knowledge.”

The other farming techniques Mrindoko uses are intercropping and agro-forestry. The careful selection of crops and trees to mix on his farm helps him produce a variety as well as reduce soil erosion.

Mrindoko works on his farm with his wife and son. His other children, six in number, are in school or working elsewhere. When asked what his biggest challenge as a farmer is, Mrindoko says “access to enough water for production.”

Although terraces can hold water when it rains, their capacity is limited when droughts set in. Mrindoko has suffered the impact of drought before to the extent that in 1999 he was forced to migrate to a place known as Kabuku in search of food because Bangalala had become extremely dry.

As we exchange pleasantries and prepare to leave his impressive farm, Mrindoko surprises us with sugarcane. “Take this with you,” he says as he hands us the sugarcane. His wife and child come quickly to bid us farewell.

Stone terracing ensures food security
Stone terracing is an efficient and sustainable agriculture technique for smallholder farmers. It helps in soil-water retention and reduces erosion. The terraces also protect the crops from stray animals. A few cows could severely damage crops if they crossed a field which has not been stone-terraced. Bringing techniques and technologies for food security to more farmers is what drives GWI EA.

Mathilde Merolli
Tanzania

Welcome

Welcome to our Blog

GWI East Africa is nearly a year old now and we want to use this opportunity to invite comment from you on what we do, how we can help make change happen in support of smallholder farmers in East Africa and how we can reach out successfully to influence key decision makers.UGD00430 Whilst we have time to achieve change – the Global Water Initiative East Africa (GWI EA) Secure Water for Smallholder Agriculture is a 5-year program of action research, advocacy and policy influencing – there is urgency behind what we do. Each year of poor or unreliable rainfall, farmer food security it seriously affected (in both Tanzania and Uganda this year, for example, rains have been poor (see how this has affected production levels in Tanzania). Our funding partner, the Howard G Buffett Foundation, generously supports our work because of a firm commitment to achieving change in support of smallholder farmers, the bedrock of household food security in East Africa.

Our program in East Africa is part of the wider Global Water Initiative working in addition in West Africa and Central America on water for agriculture issues. In all regions the focus is on generating solid evidence to support policy change. In East Africa our goal is that through this change, smallholder farmers will achieve greater food security through more sustainable access to and productive use of water.

We are working towards three strategic outcomes to achieve this goal: Greater political attention to water for smallholder production evidenced through changes in policies and plans, and their effective implementation at local, national and regional levels; Increased investment in smarter, affordable and innovative solutions to providing water for smallholder production, especially for women farmers; and that the voice and influence of smallholders, particularly women, will increase within institutions responsible for access to and control over water for agriculture.

These are complex and challenging outcomes to achieve, but we’re confident of success given the right political support and public debate. We will be using this blog to showcase what we are doing regionally, but also to invite guest blogs from our partners and others working with us across East Africa. Please sign up and join in. A starting point should be our Regional Charter on Investment in Water for Smallholder Agriculture. Concluded and signed up to by all participants at a recent regional meeting in Morogoro, the Charter sets out six key undertakings in support of water for smallholder agriculture. Please take a look and join us by signing up to the Charter here!

Dr Alan Nicol
Program Director
GWI East Africa