Experience sharing to enhance simple technologies for farmers in Kilimanjaro Region

25 Jul 2013

imageKilmanjaro delegation looking at the land that have degenerated after project intervention

The management and technical team of Sustainable Land Management (SML) Kilimanjaro project conducted a study tour to Uganda in order to learn and share experiences on sound implementation of SLM projects.

Reducing Degradation on the Highlands of the Kilimanjaro/Sustainable Land Management project is funded by the Government of Tanzania and the Global Environment Fund through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The implementing partners are the Kilimanjaro Regional Authorities, The Vice Presidents’ Office, Local Government, Ministry of energy and minerals and Ministry of Agriculture, food security and cooperatives.

The four year (2010-2014) project aims to ensure that Sustainable Land Management (SLM) provides the basis for economic development, food security, and sustainable livelihoods while restoring the ecological integrity of the Kilimanjaro Region’s ecosystems.

 The team shared relevant lessons and experiences on the successful implementation of the project in Uganda. This initiative for South-South cooperation was necessitated by the current challenges facing the SLM project in Kilimanjaro, in which practices are not being well articulated in national policies, difficulties in enforcement and compliance, and conflicts with existing laws and policies.

 The visit was among the projects outputs which entail facilitating learning in countries where SLM practices has been implemented successfully. Uganda is among of the countries that had a similar initiative which was implemented from 2010 to 2012 through a project on Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management Practices in District Development Plans.

 The main expectation of the visiting team was to enhance their knowledge and understanding in terms of policy/decision making, technical aspects, project management, and stakeholder involvement in the Kilimanjaro region. Specifically, the team expected to learn lessons and gain experiences in the following areas:

i)  integration of priority SLM interventions in  District Development Plans (DDPs)

ii) implementation of priority SLM interventions by rural communities

iii)  strengthening the capacity of focal points to support SLM country programme

iv)  implementation of improved agricultural practices such as conservation agriculture and drip irrigation practices; and

v) implementation of biogas projects and mitigating challenges associated with such an undertaking

Among the practical interventions that the SLM delegation saw and appreciated in Uganda included conservation agricultural practices, zero grazing, rain-water harvesting, and drip irrigation farming. In Nakasongola District, farmers explained the various land use interventions which they were practicing.

''Conservation agriculture is good. Last season has been bad in terms of rains but with the application of conservation agriculture my group farmers have been able to secure relatively good harvest as compared to others’’, explained Mr.Twino  Kamugisha.

The Tanzania delegation had also an opportunity to learn about the provision of sub-grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) and groups.

''In this study tour I am so impressed by the issue of indigenous knowledge(IK) which also seems to be taken into consideration in the course of implementing the project. I am also impressed at how communities are involved in seeking solutions to their own problems’’ said Mr. Faisal H.H. Issa, Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Kilimanjaro.

As a way foward after the Uganda learning exchange visit, the management and technical team for the Kilimanjaro project prepared some action points/best practices that SLM could consider pursuing. These include the provision of sub-grants to reputable CBO/groups to implement various interventions, promote conservation agriculture (CA) in the project areas through force field schools (FFS), and enhance the promotion of rain-water harvesting techniques in the project sites.