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Food Security in Mwitikira, Tanzania

Mwitikira, a dusty village of about 1,000 families in central Tanzania, is bone dry.  It gets less than half the annual rainfall of Richmond, with 100% of that rain falling in about 4 months of the year.  Despite the lack of rain, most of the people of Mwitikira are subsistence farmers.  They live on crops, mostly grain, that they grow without irrigation.  Hunger looms often.

St. Paul’s has stepped in on several occasions to provide food relief.  But this is not a long term solution.  That kind of solution requires new ways of doing things.

St. Paul’s in early 2017 entered into a food security partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Central Tanganyika.  The objective is to extend to Mwitikira a sustainable agriculture project that the Diocese has been working for several years to develop.  It consists of several elements:

  • Training farming families on the techniques of Conservation Agriculture, a way of working their dry fields to increase retention of moisture and crop yields.
  • Training on how to build inexpensive airtight grain storage bins that enable grain harvested in the spring to avoid spoilage and insect infestation and to remain edible well into the following year.
  • Providing assets such as a walking tractor and drought resistant seed that will assist in making Conservation Agriculture a success.

The food security program is scheduled to last 3 years.  It will start small, with a target of engaging 50 families in the first year.  The objective is to have 150 families fully participating by the end of 3 years.  It is hoped that by then the program will have demonstrated enough success that many more families will want to join and will learn the techniques from their neighbors.