Join our mailing list:

Guest blog post by Andrew Benn

After more than a year supporting Seed Change from the comfort of Perth, I was lucky enough to spend December in Kigoma getting my hands dirty.  I managed to squeeze in a day of looking at lions in the Serengeti before jumping on the bus to Kigoma in the far west of the country. I made a few friends and also got a look at the state of the main road out to the Western part of the country; this is a huge bottleneck holding back economic development out west and making reliable transport of construction materials quite a drama.

Bus problems on the highway

Bus problems on the highway

DSC_0136-002

New friends on the bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I arrived in sunny Kigoma just in time to help out with the second round of the farmer training program. Seed Change’s first lot of palm seedlings will be distributed to 80 farming families spread across 4 villages in the Kigoma hinterland (see a map here). Getting out to the villages gave me a chance to see the basic conditions that so many people struggle with day to day; no electricity or running water and the only transport being the odd bicycle. Each day we set out to a different village and gathered together the Seed Change program famers. The farmer training days involved a lecture from a Kigoma agricultural expert Mr. Said Ruba (and Seed Change’s Seed Nursery Manager) and a bit of hands on training. The farmers got involved in how to efficiently space their palm seedlings and how to correctly dig and prepare holes for their impending seedlings.  The farmer training days were a great time to connect with the people who are going to be the primary benefits of the Seed Change program. There were plenty of curious onlookers that probably didn’t have much of an idea what was going on, but soon they will see the first batch of year old palm saplings rolling into their neighbourhoods.

Hands on learning for palm seedling planting

Hands on learning for palm seedling planting

P1000165

Farmers practise spacing out their seedlings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the farmer training was completed, focus turned to preparations for the 2015 seedlings, and the much expanded infrastructure that would be required. With the generous donations received we have been able to fund the planting of 30,000 seeds for our second year. This will mean four times more farmers will be brought on board the program during 2015. A new shed to store tools and consumables like fertiliser and a new seedling shade house required constructing. Preparing for construction certainly wasn’t as easy as driving to the local hardware warehouse and picking up every imaginable piece of kit. Around the main town of Kigoma there various building supplies one needs for even minor construction are scattered and scarce. After a few days scrounging up requisite supplies we headed out to the nursery to get to work in the equatorial heat.

Turning of the first sod for the new shed

Turning of the first sod for the new shed

Kigoma timber yard

Kigoma timber yard

Work is rained out again

Work is rained out again

Shed construction underway

Shed construction underway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shed went up quickly despite some rain delays and work progressed nicely on the new shade house before I unfortunately had to leave and head back to Australia. Three hard weeks in Tanzania certainly made me appreciate the difficulty of getting things done in Kigoma. After meeting the farmers we will be helping change the lives of I am convinced the Seed Change program is an absolute winner, get on board and donate! Or better yet, change your next holiday plans and get over to Kigoma to help out!

A-frames of the new shade house

A-frames of the new shade house

Completed shade house

Completed shade house structure

2 Comments, RSS

  • Joseph peter

    says on:
    February 10, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the good job of that program(seed change) also it will awake people of kigoma to know its benefits, sparing your time in Tanzania and benefit them truly is a good heart.
    Let God bless this team from abroad!!!

    Joseph peter.

  • Agro .Herman Ntunwa

    says on:
    July 7, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Initiating a development project where the environment and infrastructures are not conducive is bit hard my dear. Your concern is real revolutionary to see-watchers and a waiter need to witness things already done. I appreciate everything your are doing in my native land and real believe that its very potential climatic region, trading boarder zone however disparate by the major monitoring system . Please stay out of discouragement , shame on them, they are coming to see when things become accomplished and don’t wonder they might even praise themselves on your movement success claiming to they initiation.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*