Behavior Change Campaign’s Compost Technology is changing lives.

Speeches Shim

Monday, August 29, 2022
Photo:. Moses Mashishanga (L) and his wife Mbuke Luvinza Ntala (R) are leading other farmers by example. They have introduced cashew nuts to their farm at Vikonge village in the Katavi region.
Photo by Michael Pandisha.

Moses Mashishanga, a livestock keeper and LCWT compost farmer of Vikonge village has been nominated by the Katavi Regional Government to represent the region in the Nane Nane Farmers Exhibition in Mbeya, the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.

Due to the Landscape Conservation in Western Tanzania Project (LCWT) interventions in Vikonge village, Mashishanga became a conservation champion who observes good agronomic practices (GNP) and applies compost to improve soil fertility and increase crop productivity in smaller fields. He has also introduced agroforestry as a conservation initiative to address climatic challenges.

To reap substantial produce, Mashishanga adopted improved corn seed KH 500 and AMINIKA from Svoya and Western Seed Company respectively and applied compost on 3/4 acres resulting in a harvest of fourteen (14) bags of maize yielding (1.5 tons). He plans to harvest one hundred (100) bags of maize on five (5) acres of farmland in the next farming season.

Apart from that, he employs improved farming and conservation methods such as agroforestry to improve soil fertility on his farms. Mashishanga keeps a reasonable number of cattle to support sustainable land use and has became a centre of attraction in Vikonge village, Katavi region. As such, he receives many visitors from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Seed Companies, District and Regional Government Authorities such as extension service agents, and farmers from neighboring
villages to learn best practices.

Before the LCWT Behavior Change Campaign on compost application, Mashishanga barely experienced any surplus produce. He used to harvest 13 bags of maize on 11 acres of farmland due to use of inferior seeds, poor farming methods, and reliance on superstitious beliefs such as the use of charms to boost his produce; all those efforts proved futile.

The LCWT interventions empowered Mashishanga’s worldview. He observed a direct connection between landscape conservation and improved farming methods. He cited that farm preparation and clearance with fire resulted in poor soil health. Mashishanga noted, “Soil infertility leads to shifting cultivation which is detrimental to our environment,” he remarked.

The compost application made a noticeable difference in his farming business and revolutionized his farming activities he now experiences a substantial surplus of produce at significantly reduced farming expenses. “I don’t use commercial fertilizers, I make my compost,” Mashishanga explained. He added, “I sold my surplus produce to buy building materials such as corrugated iron sheet for my new house.”

Mashishanga, who is also a Hamlet chairperson, sensitizes his neighbors and other farmers to adopt composting technology. Having learned compost making, he started producing a lot of compost for his farms but opened windows of opportunities for the neighbors and other farmers in the Tanganyika district, Katavi region, by training them in composting skills. As such, many farmers such as Maduhu Ndito have embraced composting technology and have started enjoying the benefits in terms of productivity and minimal farming expenses.

Not only did he apply compost on his farms but also planted trees to diversify his sources of income and improve soil health. “I’ve embarked on agroforestry, avocado, and cashew nut trees to set a good example to other farmers to embrace conservation initiatives.” He plans to plant different tree species on his ten (10) acres of farm by the year 2025. “Where there is a will, there is a way,” Mashishanga promised. He works together with his wife, Mbuke Luvinza Ntala, who is an LCWT lead farmer, to make compost, grow crops, and train other farmers.“We plan together, and work as a team to build the same kingdom,” he revealed, smiling. He advised couples to cooperate to realize family goals and reduce unnecessary family conflicts. The couple is determined to set a good example for their family and others.

Stephen Msome, the Vikonge Village Executive Chairperson, describes Moses Mashishanga as a dedicated Hamlet leader who translates agricultural government policies and directives into action and mobilizes his community members to practice the same for effective performance. “In a nutshell,” Msome added, “Mashishanga wants community members to be self-reliant and take responsibility for their well- being.”

As a role model and teacher to others in composting techniques, Mashishanga anticipates, “In the long run, I will generate a lot of money to improve my livelihood standards.”

Last updated: November 22, 2022

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