Tanzania: Non-Chemical Fertiliser Wins Hearts of Extension Officers, Farmers

A LOCALLY manufactured non-chemical fertilizer, with brand name 'Hakika', which was launched last week in Njombe town, has been received with enthusiasm and eagerness by extension officers and avocado growers.

Contacted for comment on having the product on the market, several retired extension officers said the new product will improve soil health, promote productivity and contribute to increasing export of fruits, greens and roots.

Retired extension officers, Mr Sixtus Ngonyani, Florence Mapunda and Gerald Mhagama and avocado growers praised the efforts by researchers and manufacturers of the product and the government towards paying attention to soil health. Mr Ngonyani said over the phone from Peramiho that he was happy to learn that a non chemical fertiliser was now on the market.

"In our days, we had demonstration farms where we taught people how to get and use manure. Chemical fertilisers were not common then to promote productivity. We succeeded," he said, adding that farmers should be encouraged to use the fertiliser to protect the soil in their farms.

Ms Florence Mapunda said many farmers do not know that overuse of chemical fertilisers harms soil health.

"I had some difficulty teaching farmers because I was a female officer. They were used to bwana shamba (Mr agricultural officer). We encouraged them to use animal droppings and taught them how to make compost and use manure renewed soil fertility," she explained, adding that in the 1950s and 60s, the populaion was small. She said many farmers do not know that overuse of chemical fertilisers harms soil health.

"They do not know this. But it is a fact. We must use fertilisers, but we have to be careful in using these fertilisers," she cautioned.

Ms Mapunda appealed to extension officers to encourage farmers to use the product along with animal droppings and composite.

"Now we have many people so we must encourage farmers to use fertilisers to increase their harvests," she counselled.

Mr Gerald Mhagama said universities, agricultural training institutes and research centres must be in the forefront in promoting the use of that kind of fertilisers and manure.

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