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At home with the Haikis

Recently, Posiano Haiki invited Seed Change to visit his home and farm where he has 60 Seed Change trees. Posiano is a keen farmer and leader in his community. His farmer training group elected him as their male group leader (each group has a male and female leader). He was also an early believer in the Seed Change model. You can find a post from 2015 about him here.

Posiano requested a special visit from Seed Change to help determine why some of his trees had crinkly leaves. Posiano has no access to informational resources outside of Kigoma and must rely on an organization such as Seed Change to help him solve this problem.

There be fruits in them there trees!

Posiano lives in Nyamhoza, only 28 km from Kigoma town. Bad roads and a destroyed bridge mean that’s a one hour drive. We arrive at a Posiano’s humble compound; a few brick mud houses for all of his extended family. After customary greetings, we settle into the compound’s nicest room and chat about his son’s recent wedding and his sister-in-law’s new baby. In Tanzania, there is no rushing through this polite banter to get to business. Business in Tanzania is all about relationships and trust building.

After twenty minutes of casual chatting, Posiano says it is time for tea and brings said tea for the group. Except the spread could be more accurately described as a full lunch with ugali (traditional maize porridge), ­­­­­­mchicha (a type of spinach with sardines), beans, bananas, and, of course, tea. Posiano is a smallholder farmer with minimal extra income but still chose to demonstrate this generosity to show his appreciation for Seed Change’s visit to his home.

Once everyone had their fill, we started out for the farm. A 45 minute walk through neighbouring farms, the path is well-worn from Posiano’s daily trek.

Boron! But of course!

First, Posiano showed us his two-year-old Seed Change trees that are fruiting. He tells us local trees take at least seven years to produce any fruit and he has never seen any tree fruit so early before. This is pretty obviously some highly encouraging news.

Then it was time for business. Posiano showed us his few trees with crinkly leaves. No one knows the cause of the deformity offhand but we take a picture and assure Posiano we will come back with a diagnosis and solution. Then it’s 45 minutes walking back home, a bit more chatting with the family, and an hour drive back to the office. Such is the pace of field work!

A final note: The cause of the crinkly leaves? Boron deficiency in the soil. The supplement is not available in Kigoma but we have arranged to ship it here from Dar Es Salaam to help any farmers who have this problem.

 

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