REMSO’s executive director Zeno Nkoswe said recently when speaking to a team of environmentalists from three organisations namely, Action Aid Tanzania, Haki Ardhi, Lawyer’s Environmental Action Team (LEAT).
The campaign starts with two villages of Kalaela and Ilambila in Kalambo District, where REMSO has dished out different fruit seedlings for villagers to plant in their farms and homes.
“We want each family to grow fruit trees because Kalambo district council has suitable land that farmers can use it to grow different fruits,” he noted.
Thereafter, Nkoswe said, the project will be extended to other villages and across the region.
“We see this as key in addressing the challenges of having stunted children due to lack of fruits in the region,” he said, adding that malnutrition is high in the region due to unbalanced diet.
According to him, people in Rukwa relies on only one type of food, something that leads to food imbalance.
Villagers have been given avocado seedlings that fetches best price especially in UK market, guava seedling and jambolan plum seedlings.
According to him, stunting rate in Rukwa Region is 56.3 per cent, according to the 2015/2016 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS).Majority of people including children depend on eating groundnuts, sunflower, beans, maize, mlenda (slippery vegetable) and rat species as food to improve their health that in turn leading to stunted growth for children.“Majority of villagers give their children food that is not nutritious for their health, they just give them ‘ugali’ and ‘mlenda’ to eat,” Nkoswe noted. The organisation will also help farmers to get extension officers who will equip them with modern technologies and good farming practices so that can produce fruits that meet people’s needs, improve health status and increase incomes.“If you visit many villages across the region, you will see indigenous mango fruits only, majority of farmers they don’t grow fruits because availability of seedlings is very difficult,” he noted.According to him, Rukwa Region has suitable land for cultivating different fruits, farmers should use this opportunity and organisation will support them to get seedlings for their farming activities.“Farmers will be trained on land selection and preparation, timely replanting, thinning and gap-filling practices, use of correct fertiliser, how to control pests and disease for what they grow, storage and other issues to help them benefit from what they grow,” he noted.Highlighting on land use planning, he said before Kalambo district council will start to conduct land use planning at Kalaela and other villages, REMSO will provide training to villagers to help them understand the benefits it has for them as well as reduce land disputes.Land use planning refers to the process by which a society, through its institutions, decides where, within its territory, different socioeconomic activities such as agriculture, housing, grazing, schools, health centre, industry, recreation, and commerce should take place.Kalaela village’s chairman, Daudi Salim noted that currently Kalaela village has 1835 residents, 588 families and the village was officially established in 1974.The seedlings will be distributed to farmers to embark on fruits production for domestic and commercial use.