By Africa RISING, 17 June 2020
Africa RISING project partners in Tanzania led by Job Kihara, Peter Bolo and Michael Kinyua (of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre of Tropical Agriculture [CIAT]) have published a reference booklet for extension agents on good agricultural management practices.
The new publication draws on the authors’ scientific data, interactions and observations while implementing project activities and interacting with extension officers and farmers in Tanzania’s Babati District over the past six years. It also includes the input of extension agents and lead farmers on the main challenges they face in trying to maximize crop yields.
Topics covered in the 36-page guide include land preparation, seed choice, spacing, planting, manure application, soil conservation, fertilizer application, weeding, pest/disease control and crop post-harvest management.
‘‘Through our research work, we’ve established that adopting good agronomic practices can increase a farmers’ maize production in Babati from an average eight bags per acre to 27 bags! But limited access to the best agronomic practice information is a significant barrier to farmers attaining this potential,’’ explains Job Kihara, the publication’s lead author. ‘‘This publication aims to bridge this gap through local extension officers who are the most trusted sources of information by farmers in Babati.’’ Kihara added.
The guide, which is already being used by extension officers in the district has elicited positive feedback from key stakeholders. The Babati District Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperative Officer (DAICO), Jetrida Kyekaka, says the guidebook is an essential reference tool for new extension agents coming from other regions where agronomic requirements differ from Babati’s. ‘A handy book like this one that touches on different farm management topics will enable us (extension officers) be much more technically sound and structured when giving advisory services to farmers,’ she adds.
Download a copy of the guidebook Soil fertility management in Babati: A practical guide on good agricultural management practices in smallholder farming systems