Tanga residents to benefit from spices farming training

11Dec 2019
The Guardian
Tanga residents to benefit from spices farming training

COMMUNITIES living around a privately owned—Magoroto Forest Estate in Tanga Region are expected to benefit from a special training programme aimed to enhance spice farming around the area.

The training programme to be implemented by Magoroto Forest Estate will also see expansion of the conserved area beyond the 500 hectares of forest through introduction and cultivation of crops that are friendly to the environment.

The company manager, Jeremiah Mchechu said communities residing near the conserved forest have been cultivating various crops including black pepper; cardamom and vanilla which require forest cover to properly grow.

He said farmers will also be encouraged to plant clove since it is friendly to the environment and its trees are expected to increase forest cover in areas which have been destroyed through increased human activities.

Mchechu noted that the company has transformed a former oil palm tree estate into a lucrative conservation-based business intending to enable farmers to use spice cultivation to raise income and improve their livelihoods.

“The company cultivates spices because they are environmental friendly and we believe can turn around the fortunes of people and enhance conservation,” he said.

Mchechu said in an interview that sisal estates were the major market for oil palm produced by the Magoroto Oil Palm Estate but revealed that business declined when sisal took a nosedive leading to a complete closure of palm oil processing in 1994.

He said major efforts turned to conserve the area for its conservation value, saying that conservation of the natural forest was the company's dream following research results for diversity of the East Usambaras.

Mchechu said the forest area was declining and there was a need to save it.

“We thought there could be a thriving alternative business in conservation,” he said adding preliminary observations prove that domestic tourism has the potential to thrive in Tanzania.

He said that the company receives at least 40 visitors per day noting most of the visitors are Tanzanians seeking new experience in hiking, mountain cycling, fishing and hiking and living in tents perched along a manmade lake.

A tour guide, Charles Hunter said there is a need for conducting an intensive research into the forest because the forest contains species of fauna and flora, smaller-sized bush baby and some species of rats.

He said ecotourism is providing villagers with alternative employment that is making them enjoy conservation.

A villager, Martin Beleko agreed that the company is encouraging them to undertake spice farming but called for consolidation of the spice market to make more villagers engage in it.

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