Enhancing the role of Solar Irrigation for Poverty Reduction Near Mt. Kilimanjaro
The project for enhancing the role of solar irrigation for poverty reduction is aiming at enhancing the adoption of solar-powered irrigation technology by the smallholder farmers in the three target project areas, leading to improved and diversified food production, enhanced climate resilience and overall social well-being, enhanced environmental conservation and climate change resilience.
Due to climate change water stresses in most tanzania communities increased. Research show that the effect of severe droughts in Hai District impact agriculture production and food security significantly.Traditionally for irrigation water from river diversions or natural springs were used. This secured the food security and income to the majority of farmers in Hai District. However, the situation has changed in recent year so farmers are no longer able to rely on traditional irrigation techniques. Due to the change of rainfall patterns streams and rivers does not flow anymore predictable continuously throughout the year.This project addresses theirfore the need for a sustainable all-year-round irrigation. The project is implemented in the three villages of Ngosero, Kilima Mbogo and Mkombozi which are located in the dry lowland plains of the southern part of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Hydrogeological studies, conducted in the initial phase of the project showed that enough groundwater is accessible by drilling boreholes to set-up solar-power irrigation schemes.
To ensure the sustainability of the project farmers are trained in climate smart farming and agribusiness.By this approach farmes build the capacity to utilize the solar irrigation to change their farming from rain-fed to all-year-round and using the surplus of the harvest to finance maintenance cost and reduce poverty. Based on these interventions with an holistic human-centered and participatory approach, it is expected that smallholders in will get resilient and capable of coping with present and projected shocks from climate change.
Funded by the Germany Government through the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), this 2-year project aims at enabling the poor, marginalized and vulnerable smallholder farmers in three villages (Ngosero, Kilima Mbogo, and Mkombozi) located in the dry lowland plains of the southern part of Mt. Kilimanjaro to overcome the pervasive challenges of poverty, food insecurity. It also seeks to address gender inequality and water use conflicts caused by lack of access to reliable and affordable water supply for irrigation purposes as compounded by the growing impacts of climate change.
In this regard, 2021 was the first year of implementation for this project. Accordingly, the project team worked diligently to initiate the various project activities in line with the project design and respective work plan. Key activities implemented and achievements are presented below:
i. Project launch: Project was successfully launched in February 2021 marking official commencement of implementation. This intervention involved mobilization of all key stakeholders to ensure their buy-in and ownership. This phase also involved confirmation of project management committees namely Project Steering Committee and Project Implementation Committee as well as validation of farmers and water user groups.
ii. Baseline studies: These studies were conducted between February and May 2021 in order to establish accurate benchmarks against which to measure progress. The studies also helped to understand key gaps, needs, and entry points (opportunities) for enhancing the implementation of the project. Specifically, the studies include socio-economic survey, Environmental impact Assessment and hydrogeological survey.
iii. Drilling of boreholes: This important component of the project commenced in October 2021 after completion of hydrogeological studies and securing the drilling permits from the respective Pangani Basin Water Board. By end of December 2021, drilling of two of the three boreholes was completed in two villages of Mkombozi and Kilimambogo, pending installation of solar powered water pumps to pump water for irrigation.
iv. Training of communities on agronomy and climate smart agriculture. In preparation for irrigation, the initial training to orient and sensitize communities
On this basis the next steps include installation of solar power system to operationalized boreholes, establishment Farmers Field Schools (FFS) to facilitate demonstrations on Climate Smart Agriculture using modern irrigation practices for enhanced productivity and security of livelihood. Other activities will include advanced training to small-holder farmers on Business Development Services and entrepreneurship.