-improving their yields as well as conducting farm activities professionally.
The project which commenced in January 2019 covers six target districts in three northern regions—Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Tanga. The aim is to gradually introduce the approach across the country. The project goes with a slogan ‘Anzia Sokoni Malizia Shambani Kwa Kipato Zaidi’.
Joel Jackson Ikera from the Umoja A Farmers Group in Lushoto District, Tanga Region said: “I was farming without knowing the actual cost of production because I did not keep records of farming activities, but through the project I have been able to know the costs of farming activities including calculation of profit and losses.”
According to Ikera farmers should first start at the market before production, because in the market, they will know popular varieties, quality and volume traded. They will know their competitors and peak demand (high price) seasons.
He said the knowledge he acquired from the JICA-supported TANSHEP project has enabled him to increase the production of various crops per plot (0.125 acres) as follows, “zucchini” from 320 kg to 940kg (nearly three times), “broccoli” from 210 kg to 520 kg (2.5 times) and “cauliflower” from 420 kg to 900 kg (2.1 times).
In addition to registering the remarkable increase of production, Ikera managed to properly apply the field management skills, marketing and record keeping practices which he obtained from the JICA project.
These factors made him to be selected as the “Annual Regional Best Farmer in the Eastern Zone of Tanzania '' at the occasion of this years’ Nane- Nane Celebrations.
Ikera is no doubt one of those farmers who are fast learning how to change their farming mindsets from the conventional “Grow and Sell” towards “Grow to Sell” approach through JICA’s technical cooperation project (TANSHEP), the “Project for Strengthening District Agriculture Development Plans (DADPs) Planning and Implementation Capacity through the Use of Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) Approach”.
TANSHEP focuses on promoting market oriented horticulture development by applying the “SHEP” (Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion) approach initiated by JICA, which realizes “Market-Oriented Agriculture”.
The approach encourages horticulture producers to conduct market surveys first before engaging in production. It encourages collaboration with relevant stakeholders, such as buyers, input suppliers, and even intermediaries, to improve production and marketability and to realize the increase of income for the betterment of rural livelihoods in Tanzania.
The horticultural producers in the target districts are proactively applying a SHEP approach based on the lessons learnt and confidence gained through the 1st trial cycle under TANSHEP.
The second cycle of application of SHEP approach starts in September this year following the training for extension officers, selected farmers’ groups will make field visits to successful farmers’ groups to learn the good practices which resulted from “Grow to Sell” mindset change.
The series of project activities by TANSHEP has reached many farmers (about 56 farmers’ groups) and extension officers in the three target regions.