November 2015, when I was conducting my practical training in Arusha Tanzania, I came across one farmer who was participating in tomato farming with 3 years’ experience. He was blaming the changes occurring on his farm, which were accompanied with increase in insecticide usage with insects such as grasshoppers and white flies being the biggest problem. He claimed that during the early years there were none of these problems and he was using few insecticides in dealing with insects. During that time I was busy in my practical training and not able to visit his farm again. During my last days of my training he called me to visit him on his farm telling me of a new disease facing his tomatoes. Sadly after reaching his farm I found 4 acres of tomatoes completely destroyed and after observing I found tuta absoluta in his farm and the whole 4 acres farm were affected.
From there I started to think of a protected cultivation project. The idea was to help local farmers by constructing low cost greenhouses and installing drip irrigation systems so as to eliminate excessive use of insecticides and, at the same time, saving time and loss of water. I started investing time in learning on how to design and construct low cost greenhouses. Installation of irrigation systems were parts of my studies too. After completion of my studies in 2017 I had enough experience in designing and construction of greenhouses and irrigation systems and in September 2017 I started to work on my idea. I was successful in finding a farmer who gave me a work to construct 1 metal greenhouse and install a drip irrigation system in an area of 2 acres in an open field.
During 2018 I started to promote myself as (Agrila_Farming) in social media to promote the services I was offering and have succeeded to increase awareness. I still use these social media platforms to post information on my daily work. In March 2018 I joined my friends who we were sharing the same passion and continue to work with all farmers in all regions in Tanzania.
I measure my success through the feedback I am obtaining from the farmers who I have worked with. They are successfully controlling insects and have increased production 5 times compared to the same area cultivated in an open field and, reduced the loss of water and time through drip irrigation systems. In December 2018 we created our website (www.agrilafarming.com) so as to provide information related to crop protection and other farming information so as to transfer the knowledge to farmers all over Africa. In 2019 we are planning to construct demonstration greenhouses in Arusha and show the farmers the importance of crop protection for the current time and for the next generation too.
Joseph O mlang’a, Tanzania