Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!

by Trees for the Future
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!
Help Tanzanian Farmers Get Water!

Beginning in December, our Iguguno Forest Garden project participants planted their trees during outplanting season.  Access to water was vitally important to prepare these young seedlings for their outplanting. Hardwood trees were planted for each Forest Garden.  Currently, we are conducting sample surveys as part of our annual monitoring and evaluation system. A sample size is selected for a 95% (+/-5%) confidence level. Using ArcGIS, families are randomly selected from each project for an in-depth survey (in four areas):
1) General demographics: family size, age, education levels, gender
2) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) with helps us determine how forest gardens are impacting the dietary and nutritional improvements of each family.
3) FAO Household Food Insecurity Access Scale Survey (HFIAS) which helps us gauge each families access to food.
4) Household resilience reflecting a family’s increased economic resilience

Two team members will be traveling in the next few days for a monitoring visit of our work in Tanzania.  Additional photos of our work will be available in April. Also coming before the end of the month is the release of our NEW Forest Garden Training Center (training.trees.org) App. With this App, TREES team members and farmers will have access to vast resource of information at their fingertips including all Forest Garden Training Center Materials and an interactive map of all TREES Forest Garden activities.

In March we will begin farmer evaluations with our staff.  TREES team will work alongside these farmer families to evaluate what’s working, what’s not and how we can help. Findings help to guide future training. In Mid-march the rains begin again, this will support growth of the newly planted living fence and farmers will be outplanting additional trees within their gardens.    

Additional photos and data will be available in April, please let our team know if you have any questions about this project or our overall work.

Thank you for your investment in this work.  As we look towards a new season, please consider making an additional gift to support our work in Tanzania.

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In September and October, our Iguguno Forest Garden project participants worked diligently to grow their tree nurseries for the outplanting season coming up in December. Fast-growing agroforestry and hardwood timber seedlings such as Acacia polyacantha, Gliricidia sepium and Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, will be planted to secure the boundary of each plot and also placed in small woodlots in rows which will act as windbreaks to protect crops within the field.

A vital part of our program is training.  Farmers received training on timber outplanting in October.  During this training, our staff also demonstrated how to make organic pesticide from local ingredients found around the homestead to treat both pests, such as termites, as well as disease affecting fruits and vegetables. All will help enable that the forest garden is sustained.

To date, our Iguguno project farmers have planted 673,453 fuel, fodder, fruit and timber trees throughout their Forest Gardens.

Thank you for your investment in this work.  Please consider making an additional gift towards this project.

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A tree grows in a nursery
A tree grows in a nursery

The past few months have been a busy time for our Tanzania Forest Garden farmers. This summer, each farmer has been preparing tree nurseries for outplanting. You may think that planting trees is simple, but in fact it takes a lot of work!

For each tree to have the best chance of survival, there are several important steps that must occur. To plant nurseries, farmer must properly prepare their soil with a mixture of compost, dirt, and sometimes ash or other natural inputs. After the seedling mixture is composed and ready to go, farmers then prepare their seeds for planting. Each seed requires different kinds of preparation: some seeds can simply be planted, while others require a cold or hot soak to break the seed casing. Other seeds must be planted in a certain direction in order to germinate, so it's important to know how to prepare the seeds for the best chance of germination and survival!

Once the seedlings are in the nurseries, each little tree takes anywhere from 4-10 weeks, depending on the species, for each tree to become big and strong enough to outplant into fields. During this time, farmers must protect their young trees by keeping them out of the mid-day, direct, hot sun and by watering them daily in the morning or evening in order to prevent too much water from evaporating in the mid-day sun. This process helps to conserve water use. With TREES' help, farmers learn to plan accordingly for the appropriate outplanting time to make sure they're starting their nurseries in time to outplant during the rainy season. At this time, TREES staff offers support to farmers in planning, planting, and outplanting their new trees.

When farmers are ready to outplant their trees into their Forest Gardens, they plant during the rains so that the newly planted trees are more likely to survive. Each farmer protects their trees, either with an already existing live fence or by building protective barriers out of locally available materials.

After the trees are planted in Forest Gardens, our local staff visits each farmer to measure survival rates of the young trees and help farmers plan for next year.

Each nursery takes a lot of work, but for Forest Garden farmers, the effort is worth the payoff when the Forest Garden is growing strong, providing food, timber, fodder, and income for farming families!

Watering the tree nursery
Watering the tree nursery
Trees ready for outplanting during rains
Trees ready for outplanting during rains

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Acacia seedlings in their nursery
Acacia seedlings in their nursery

Our farmers in Tanzania have been keeping very busy preparing their vegetable and tree nurseries to plant around and within their Forest Gardens. This time of year is one of the most important as it sets the foundations for success for farmers in our program. Before Forest Gardens, farmers would plant a monocrop, sometimes with a very small home garden that allowed them to have one pay day a year and did not focus on higher value crops such as fruits. Now that farmers have Forest Gardens, we build their capacity as farmers to cultivate a wide variety of fruit trees, nut trees, medicinal plants, fodder trees, and field and vegetable crops to support themselves and their families.

Each farmer works hard to grow healthy tree seedlings and understand the important processes that it takes to create a successful tree nursery and thus a successful foundation for their Forest Gardens. Many of the trees that a farmer will plant in their Forest Garden are thorny species that are planted around the perimeter of a garden as a living fence to keep out livestock. Many of these tree species, such as Acacia mellifera, grow very well in arid areas and need little water. They grow well into a fence, sequester carbon, and their seed pods provide fodder for livestock and traditional medicines.

For example, in order to propagate this tree, farmers have to learn seed treatment and planting techniques. In order to grow, the seed pod must be soaked in water for a few hours and then the seeds come out easily for planting in nurseries. When it comes time to out-plant the tree into the fence line, farmers must space the seedlings close together (about a fist's distance) so that they can form an impenetrable barrier as they grow.

Building capacity of farmers to grow these trees is what makes our Forest Garden Approach and training unique and empowering. As our Tanzania farmers are in the middle of their nursery and planting times, we are happy to have your support for their work. Happy planting!

A farmer ready to plant her seedling
A farmer ready to plant her seedling
A variety of seedlings soon ready for planting
A variety of seedlings soon ready for planting

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Safia in her Forest Garden
Safia in her Forest Garden

Safia, one of the farmers in Trees for the Future's Forest Garden farming program, is making the most of her land, time, and energy by cultivating a Forest Garden. Ending her second year in the program, Safia looks forward to her vegetables growing for her family to eat and to sell at market. Her trees are steadily growing since she planted them last year. This upcoming planting season, she will grow okra, pumpkin, amaranth, and spinach, alongside her sunflowers, maize, and chickpeas that she currently grows. While her region of Tanzania is dry, the intercropping techniques she is learning really help conserve soil moisture and help to keep the rain that does fall on the land. 

Through her trainings with Trees for the Future, Safia's land has been given renewed purpose. She plans and plants things thoughtfully and to maximize her land and the soils health. Moreover, she also enjoys the camaraderie of her farmer group and often barters and trades among the group. With the proceeds from selling vegetables at market, Safia looks forward to establishing savings for the first time, hoping her children will be able to achieve a higher level education. She plants and plans so that her children's future can look bright. 

Safia and her family
Safia and her family

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Organization Information

Trees for the Future

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland - USA
Website:
Trees for the Future
Kendall Swenson
Project Leader:
Kendall Swenson
Silver Spring, Maryland United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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