Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) undertakes far-reaching efforts to produce knowledge within the field of agroecology. To improve farmers’ and pastoralists’ practices in the field, SAT collaborates with farmer groups and universities to create demand-driven research.
This year again, SAT brought together farmers and researchers in its annual Workshop for Participatory Research Design (WPRD) to discuss common agricultural challenges and to develop research topics in order to solve these occurring problems.
The 4th WPRD was held in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) on December 02nd, 2017 at the SUA campus. WRPD provides the platform for young researchers from SUA, research supervisors, organic farmers and pastoralists from Morogoro Region to come together. The Workshop fleshes out topics which have been brought by farmers and students which build the foundation of research proposals addressed through action-based investigations based on farmer’s needs.
After welcoming remarks to professors, students, farmers and attending press by SAT Director Janet Maro and conference organizer, Alex Wostry, the Guest of Honour Prof. Dr. Frederick Kahimba, Principal from the College of Agriculture at SUA spoke to the audience of more than 218 participants about the benefits of organic farming with regard to the increasing food production for the growing world population.
SAT CEO Programme Janet Maro then took the stage to introduce SAT presenting Mission and Vision of the organisation. 2017 student researcher, Abdul Shango presented his research methodologies and findings on improving maize productivity using quality seed and conservation agriculture, answering many questions from the audience.
Dr. Mwajuba then took the podium to present the process and goals for this year’s WPRD. Afterwards, Dr. Kyaruzi lectured on the design and benefits of participatory action research.
Farmers and pastoralists from the villages of Kichangani, Lubungo, Amkeni, Menge, Tawa and Mtamba presented their needs and challenges to the workshop audience. The main topics discussed were diseases in cattle, pest and other crop issues, along with market linkages. The engaged audience, moderated by Mr. Mapunda were able to ask insightful questions of both researcher and the local farmers attending the forum.
Following lunch, students and faculty broke into seven small groups to work more in depth on each of the topics. From these group discussions came possible solutions and design research questions.
Students are now invited to submit research concept notes which are based on the research questions identified and developed at the WPRD. Students will be chosen and supported with a research grant.
SAT will continue disseminating these relevant and valuable findings to their extensive network of over 96 farmer groups, which includes over 2600 members. Research summaries from the students selected in 2017, focusing on mulching, soil management and seed germination will also be presented at the 2018 Agricultural Forum to be held in early December in Morogoro.