The Africa Green Revolution in Agriculture (AGRA) that runs two research centers, Selian in Arusha and Ilonga in Morogoro, has said farmers can increase maize production if they practice mixed farming.
AGRA project manager in Tanzania Stephen Lyimo said this recently when explaining about mixed farming at the exhibition held at Kiyegeya in Gairo District, Morogoro Region.
He said improved production results from mixing maize with legumens help to improve availability of Nitrogen gas in the soil, and that were more effective when Minjingu fertilizer, which is rich in phosphorus nutrients, was applied.
The manager, who is also a researcher based at Selian, said the practice of mixed farming helps to improve and ensure availability of food, increase food security, increase farmers' incomes and thereby improve farmers' living conditions.
He said the AGRA project is being run in Arumeru, Kondoa, Moshi, Hai, Siha, Kilosa and Gairo districts.
For his part, the Project Coordinator for the Eastern Zone, Meshack Makenge, who is based at Ilonga Research Institute, said the successes registered resulted from research activities that have helped to improve quality of seeds and improve their adaptability.
He identified the seeds as ‘Komboa’ which takes four months to mature, ‘Tumia’ which takes six months and ‘Mali’ which takes seven months. Yields from the seeds are of highest quality and fetch best prices, said Makenge.
The researcher said that if farmers would stick to their old methods of farming, especially growing legumens, they would likely continue harvesting less than four sacks per hectare.
For his part, the Director for Research and Development at Ilonga Research
Institute, Dr Fidelis Myaka, said mixed farming was very good for soil and environmental conservation.
He added that legumens species were good in conserving the soil fertility as well as fetching better prices at the market, particularly in India.
One of the farmers of legumens from Lubeho village in Gairo District, Stephano Mgweno, who owns 20 hectares, said he has benefited a great deal from mixed farming and managed to buy a milling machine, several dairy cattle as well as sending his children to an English medium school.