Maize is the main food crop of Tanzania averaging 6.7 million metric tons in 2013/2014 seasons. Tanzania is endowed with more than 4.0 million hectares land with suitable climate (medium-high elevation) for the production of specialty maize that commands high prices on the world market. The current average yield per hectare is around 1.6 tons (FAOSTAT, 2015). Tanzania has the capacity to produce 1.3 – 1.5 metric tons per hectare annually if small-scale farmers were to adopt improved farming practices. Maize production has been increasing from year to year due to priority set by the government.
TAMASA in Tanzania
TAMASA activities in Tanzania were implemented by CIMMYT, through its office in Tanzania. After the project was officially launched on February 3, 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the first activity implemented in Tanzania was the market information.
Knowledge Network and KAP study
The study focused on knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP), and knowledge exchange among maize sector service providers, was implemented in Karatu district (Arusha region) in Northern Zone and Mbozi district (Mbeya region) in the Southern Highlands Zone. The study aimed to make an inventory of service providers at the local level, and mapped their knowledge exchange patterns and relative importance in knowledge provision to farmers.
The KAP focused on farmer and extension linkages. The preliminary findings and implications for TAMASA were:
- Mapping the knowledge infrastructure (actors, their knowledge, and their interconnections) was a key activity in the development of use-cases in all TAMASA target geographies.
- TAMASA’s efforts to build capacity in national programmes to sustain the use cases it co-developed with partners complemented with a focus on developing linkages between (knowledge) service providers (network building and brokerage).
- Given stakeholder’s stress on output market problems and a lack of market information about output markets, TAMASA needed to consider developing output market use case(s), focusing on storage, produce bulking, transport and market price information.
The project trained a number of Uyole staff on how to collect needed data by using ODK software. Staff have been trained on using smart phones software for tracking locations using GPS based apps and taking measurements. In addition, staff were trained on proper protocol of taking soil and maize samples as well as information on socio-economics; similar trainings were conducted for a handful of research staff from Northern and Eastern zones. Before establishing NOTs in SHZ, another training was conducted involving researchers and extension staff from the Districts where NOT were established. The training took the participants through the NOT protocol, GPS essential and use of ODK.
A wide range of stakeholders were consulted during the KNAP study and through visitation to their respective offices by TAMASA researchers at different times. These included government extension, NGOs, research, seed and fertilizer businesses, regulation and policy bodies, as well as other agricultural projects in the country.
In May 2017, a six-day classroom and field-based training event was held at Songea in southern Tanzania, organized by CIMMYT and Michigan State University (MSU) with USDA-ARS New Mexico State University.
The objective of the training was to pre-test and prepare enumerators and supervisors for the 2017 Agronomic Panel Survey (APS) in Tanzania. The APS was a combined household-community-focal plot questionnaire and crop cut and soil sample administered to about 600 households in 25 Districts.
TAMASA’s activities are organized into seven sets of activities, called Workstreams. Workstreams 2 through 5 are focused on the development of decision-support tools.
Workstream 1 addresses core data gaps. There are several components of this work:
- Collect georeferenced data on plot-level soil characteristics, agronomic management, and maize yields, supplemented by farm-level data on resources, management decisions and production outcomes. Much of these data will be collected on panel observations, i.e. repeated visits to the same plots in successive seasons over the duration of the project.
- Analyze the data collected, along with complementary data sources generated by other projects (e.g. LSMS-ISA data) to characterize management, input use and yields over time and space.
- To collect data within a centrally managed repository which is accessible by project researchers as well as national partners.
- To evaluate alternative data collection methods (e.g. mobile-camera-based yield estimates over crop cuts; UAV-based yield estimates), and promote such methods if/where they are cost-effective.
Workstream 2 will establish a spatially-explicit framework for ex-ante analysis of alternative targeting of productive investment, e.g. where new fertilizer blends may be more profitable than existing blends.
Workstream 3 will establish working versions of a Nutrient Expert tool which will provide site-specific nutrient management advice to farmers. This work is done in collaboration with IPNI.
Workstream 4 will establish a tool for the selection of maize varieties most appropriate for particular geographic locations and specified trait requirements.
Workstream 5 consists of developing data to support the identification of opportunities for new fertilizer blends. This work is currently being done in Nigeria in collaboration with OCP.
Workstream 6 focuses on evaluating the actual and potential adoption and impact of the tools developed in Workstreams 2-5. Data collected under Workstream 1 (i.e. the agronomic panel survey) will be used to evaluate adoption via experimental methods. Within Workstream 6, there is also space for evaluating complementary agronomic and other interventions.
Workstream 7 consists of project management activities. Within this Workstream are included monitoring, evaluation and learning (ME&L) activities, communication, and collaborative management of training and research conducted by doctoral students who are sponsored by the project and who conduct their coursework at Wageningen University (Netherlands), Leuven University (Belgium) and Reading University (UK).