Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

6 May 2013

Tanzania: Zero-Tilling Farming Coming to Arusha

Arusha — SCIENTISTS here will next month be trying to convince local farmers in the Northern Zone to stop cultivating their lands. That will take place during the "Tanzania Agro-Business Expo 2013," according to organizers of the event the East African Grain Council.

The 2013 Agro-Business event is essentially going to be a "farmers' week" but different from the National "Nane-Nane" on that the EAGC "farmers show" will strictly be about farming and agriculture; no business artifacts, plastic flowers or drinking sprees that are usually seen in national events. Local farmers and peasants who will be attending the event will therefore learn new ways of doing agriculture without tilling their farms.

"As for the Zero-tilling we shall train farmers on how to go about it, using the socalled 'power tillers,' where instead of cultivating the soil, the machines can be attached to furrow opening planters and scoop just little holes to plant the seeds leaving the rest of the patch undisturbed," said Dr Elias Saria of Selian Agriculture research.

According to Dr Saria, the weeds will be removed by ordinary herbicides that will be caused to rot and converted to manure at the same time and that this method of farming, already in use in some parts Karatu and Meru Districts of Arusha as well as Mbulu District in Manyara is so far showing positive results.

"After a while, farmers will no longer have to apply fertilizers because the soil will still retain its natural state plus the added advantage of decaying weeds and zero disturbances to help the natural production of essential nutrients," added the researcher.

The 'Selian Agriculture Research Institute' which operates in the outskirts of Arusha, along the main Dodoma road is co-organizing the event and in fact also hosting the Agri-Business expo at their base opposite the Arusha Airport near Kisongo area.

The event runs between 14th and 15th June, 2013 according to Mr Samuel Rutto, one of the event coordinators. The "Expo" theme is "commercializing agriculture and helping farmers move from manual labour to mechanized farming," for improved yields and effective execution of their day-to-day duties!

Mr Gerald Masila from the EAGC said the event will bring researchers, farmers, peasants, agri-processors, agents, inputs suppliers and consumers on single platform where they may share ideas and exchange contacts for mutual partnership.

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