BY SYLVIA KOMBE
Moshi — Farmers in Kilimanjaro region have been advised to embrace modern farming techniques that correspond to climate in producing drought resistant crops, including sorghum and millet.
Speaking to farmers in Kigonigoni village in Mwanga district, Kilimanjaro Region, a researcher from Nairobi-based International Crops Research Institute for the semi Arid Tropics (Icrisat) Dr Mary Mgonja said climate change has affected farmers that experiencing severe hunger.
She said that her organisation has collaborated with various researchers to produce millet and sorghum in Rombo and Mwanga districts in Kilimanjaro region. “Millet and sorghum will not necessarily be used only as food, but also in producing beer, because beer factories need such crops that gain farmers some income,” she said.
Dr Mgonja said she has already visited farmers in various areas in the northern zone, and many of them have promised to start farming millet and sorghum because the two crops can make them generate good income. Speaking about farming crops which persevere drought, Mwanga district Agricultural Officer Ms Joyce Maeda said Kigonigoni village had been picked for trial because the area normally gets insufficient rain every year.
Ms Maeda said that Mwanga district was thinking to establish a research centre where farmers will undergo formal training on how to cultivate drought-resistance crops, including sorghum and millet. Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of seed companies Mr Bob Shuma urged farmers to join efforts that will enable them get loans to improve agriculture in their area.
Addressing the people during the event, Serengeti Breweries Limited (Moshi plant) Public Relations Manager Gerald Mandara said that his factory will start buying white sorghum from farmers. “Farmers should cultivate millet and sorghum and we shall buy it. We are serious on this business because we are interested in buying from local farmers rather than buying from outside the country,” he said.