Climate change is a challenge for family farmers around the world. This is no different for rice farmers in Iringa, a central region Tanzania characterised by rocky peaks and the Ruaha River Valley. To improve the sustainability of rice cultivation, it is crucial to address climate adaptation as well as mitigation, since rice production significantly contributes to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Rice farmers are in fact both victims and contributors to climate change. Tackling these issues, Rikolto is taking part in a Kilimo Trust-led project to promote sustainable rice cultivation in Iringa.
By strengthening and expanding the rice sector in Tanzania, the Government of Tanzania plans on becoming a big rice exporter to meet the growing regional demand. Rice productivity in Tanzania is however lower compared to other rice cultivating regions in the world. If it wants to become the region’s rice basket, there are many challenges to be addressed:
In general, the project adopts a ‘STEP’ approach to achieve its goals:
At the end of the project in October 2021, we hope to achieve the following results together with Kilimo Trust:
Climate mitigation actions
Increase access to digital solutions by 50%, which will support farmers in climate change adaptation by providing them with useful information, based on digital data systems, that supports them in better decision-making in risk management e.g. contractual obligations with rice millers and input providers and adjusting the cropping calendar to suit weather changes.
Increase productivity and income with 50%. The digital solutions proposed and in-field support by Kilimo Trust and Rikolto to farmers are expected to contribute to a 50% increase in yields in four rice irrigation schemes directly benefitting 10,000 farmers.
Between 2019 and 2021, this project will directly benefit 10,000 smallholder rice farmers (30% youth, 40% female) in four irrigation schemes in Iringa (Tungamalenga, Idodi, Mapagoro and Makifu).
Besides the farmers, the project will also include: