Most Tanzanians grow food, and some 90% of them live in a rural setting with their incomes largely derived from the growing of crops and raising of live-stock. The Church actively promotes the introduction of new crops and animal husbandry methods, along with improved marketing opportunities to raise income levels and increase living standards. This section looks at the Church’s agricultural and horticultural projects and its active engagement with the rural communities it serves.
Asha is proud of her cow, and grateful to the Diocese of Tarime’s Mogabiri Farm Extension Centre (MFEC) for providing it. The first calf it produced went back to MFEC, to eventually be passed on to another small-scale farmer in Tarime’s uplands, close to the Kenyan border. MFEC has pioneered the practice of ‘zero grazing’ in which cows are kept in an enclosed space and food is grown for them, rather than allowing them to range across the countryside. The cows are specially bred crosses between local zebu and larger European breeds, ensuring the best qualities of each. The result is improved yields and Asha now has a steady income arising from sales of surplus milk. With this she has been able to send her child to school and even start on the building of a new house.
Ploughing with oxen a technological breakthrough? Well, it’s is a great improvement on using a hoe and it enables this farmer in Tarime Diocese to cultivate a great deal more land than before. The Church encourages intermediate technology of this sort and our picture was taken at the diocesan teaching centre at Mogabiri. Africa is littered with broken down machinery of every kind which has been introduced with insufficient thought about maintenance and repair or access to spare parts. Tractors will come as Tanzania continues to develop, but in the meantime this farmer can feed his family and send a modest surplus to market as a way of improving his family’s life.
No, it’s not a trendy dish from Italy – ‘mbolea’ is the Swahili word for manure. Much of the work done by the Church in Tanzania is educational in nature, and never more so than in its agricultural projects. Many small scale traditional farmers have been sitting on a gold mine composed of the droppings of their cattle whilst penned up overnight to protect them from thieves and wild animals. Rich in nutrients, this long-neglected resource has improved yields of many crops thanks to new knowledge brought by the Church’s agricultural extension officers. Where there’s muck, there’s added value!
For more information about Agricultural Projects contact:
or if you would like information about how your local school can get involved or resources for schools contact: