Improved school farm productivity with new drip irrigation systems
In farming communities that face climate change and water scarcity, a Drip Irrigation System (DIS) offers an innovative approach for sustainable agriculture. It not only increases the yield, it also improves the quality of the crops.
In an exciting development of our Shamba Letu project, 3 schools in Tanzania – Gedamar, Kwaraa and Mamire Primary Schools – have installed 1-acre DISs on their crop farms. So They Can’s Community Development Manager, Zadock, who is a qualified agronomist, has led the initiative, and shared his view on the numerous benefits:
‘As well as being water and time efficient, drip irrigation also conserves land, prevents soil erosion. and assures harvest in the summer season. With DIS we expect the annual yield to double to 12,000kgs of onions, and 13,000kgs of tomatoes per acre, because now we can harvest each crop twice. This initiative provides pupils and the surrounding communities critical life skills about advanced farming techniques that are responsive to global climate change, and the need for food security with our increasing global population.’
Following installation, Zadock trained 300 students, and 6 teachers, who will be responsible for managing the farms at their schools. The teachers also accompanied So They Can staff to Farmers’ Day, an annual agricultural exhibition in Arusha, for the opportunity to speak directly with exhibitors and learn firsthand about climate smart agricultural practices, to apply in their schools.
With their newly acquired skills on farming with irrigation, students and teachers went to task. They prepared the ridges and planted onions, tomatoes and banana plants. Just 3 months after planting, the crops are looking healthy and abundant. Drip irrigation supplies controlled amounts of water directly to the roots, so crops receive all the water and nutrients they need to prosper.
‘Implementing the drip irrigation system has been a great learning experience for both the teachers and students. We hope that by engaging in climate smart agriculture, and enhancing greenery at our school, we contribute to a more innovative and sustainable society. We are also looking to improve our income-generating capacity through this, and for the profit to support the school’s operational costs.’Daniel – teacher in charge of the school farm at Mamire Primary School.
In 2024 So They Can will continue the pilot of drip irrigation systems and a fourth school, Majengo Primary School, will also participate.