Contacted for comment on having the product on the market some retired extension officers said the new product will improve soil health, promote productivity and contribute to increasing exports of fruits, greens and roots.
Retired extension officers, Sixtus Ngonyani, Florence Mapunda and Gerald Mhagama and avocado growers praised the efforts by researchers and manufacturers of the product and also government efforts towards paying attention to soil health.
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 fertiliser were not common then to promote productivity. We succeeded,” he said, adding that farmers should be encouraged to use the fertiliser to protect soil in their farms.
Florence Mapunda said many farmers do not know that overuse of chemical fertilisers harms soil health. “I had some difficulty to teach farmers, because I was a female officer. They were used to bwana shamba ( agricultural officer). We encouraged them to use animal droppings and taught them to make compost. Use manure renewed soil fertility,” she explained adding that in the 1950s and 60s the population 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 fertiliser,” she cautioned.
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 the harvests,” she counselled.
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.
“When researchers take their results to farmers they must also educate them on the use manure. We need collective efforts to increase productivity in the agriculture sector and have our farm products accepted in overseas markets,” he explained.
Erasto Ngole, an avocado grower in Njombe claimed that he was one of the first people to use hakika fertiliser for the time it was being tested todate. “It has doubled by harvests,” he said. He did not give figures but said harvests from one healthy tree reward him 1.2m/-.
Esther Msigwa a farmer in Wanging’ombe District said she was harvesting attractive and big avocado fruits “because of using this fertiliser.” She also said she has been taught how to use the fertiliser to fight soil acidity.
Apart from encouraging use of manure and fertilisers, the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared guidelines on application of lime that will be used by extension officers in teaching farmers latest ways of eliminating soil acidity and improving quality of soil before sawing seeds.
In fighting soil acidity, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) collaborates with YARA, BriTEN, WFP and CIAT to enlighten farmers on the use of lime and fertilisers.
CIAT’s representative Ravic Nijbroek said soil health has become an African regional problem which calls for urgent attention.