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Over 300 farmers attended a farmer’s field day in Northern Tanzania to learn about quality seed of improved common bean varieties, best agronomic practices and latest technologies which would help boost production, productivity, as well as improve the quality of beans produced. This was part of the Tropical Legumes III project led by ICRISAT to improve inputs and market opportunities for common bean farmers.
Farmers gathered information, expanded their networks and learned about making agriculture sustainable and profitable. They were provided information on:
- How to control disease infestation and insect invasion to the crop
- How to utilize land efficiently by optimal spacing
- How much fertilizer/herbicide/insecticide to apply and how frequently
- Why improved variety seeds were cost-effective in the long run
- How beans could be used in various kinds of dishes (recipes)
- How to minimize post-harvest losses and maximize profits
- How small seed packs are better aligned to the needs of smallholder farmers.
The field day was organized at the Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA) seed farm at Ngaramtoni, Arusha, and was attended by 341 participants including seed companies, farmer groups (175 women, 129 men) extension agents and public organizations. Remarkably, there were more women than men present at the field day, presumably due to conscious efforts by the Tropical Legumes III project to include more women in their projects. Several new improved bean varieties such as Lyamungu 90, Lyamungu 85, Jesca, Njano Uyole and Uyole 96 were displayed to the farmers and other stakeholders.
The field day served to inform common bean farmers about increased opportunities and possibilities in farming, including benefits of improved seeds, market value of processed foods, and advantages of shared knowledge in a networked value chain.