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ASHC supports Tanzania ISFM consortium launch

Maize pigeon pea

Promotional material developed at the ASHC/AGRA write-shop for use at the launch

The Tanzania Soil Health Consortium – TASHCO- brings together all of the leading practitioners in Tanzania that are working on ISFM technologies. The consortium was officially launched on 25 July 2013 by the Regional Commissioner for Arusha, the Hon Magesa Mulongo.

In his opening remarks, the guest of honour thanked partners including AGRA and CABI for their continued commitment to improving agricultural productivity in the country.

Citing the clear linkage with the government’s policy, the minister said the activities planned will strengthen information sharing and bridge the gap between research and smallholder farmers’ information needs.

The coordinator of TASHCO, Dr Stephen Lyimo, explained the importance of the consortium as a platform for knowledge and information sharing and harmonisation among stakeholders in soil fertility and soil health in Tanzania.

ISFM promotional materials developed by Stephen at the ASHC/AGRA write-shop in Naivasha, Kenya in June 2013 formed part of the launch display.

James Watiti, ASHC senior communications manager said: “I was pleased to represent ASHC at this important event and to use the opportunity to spell out the potential collaborations going forward. I was delighted that materials developed in the ASHC/AGRA write-shop were being used at the launch event as exemplar ISFM materials.

I was even more pleased to see that ASHC will play an important role in the first years work plan. Central to the ISFM approach is the idea of local adaption. These country-level consortiums will be well placed to ensure that local adaptations, farmer-led innovations and indigenous knowledge are combined with new research on agronomic practices to creative farmer friendly materials.

We hope to help the consortiums develop a suite of information materials which can be used as templates for new materials that are required in the future.” ASHC aims to be the key provider information and communications support for country soil health consortiums. AHSC will be developing and sharing best practices between the growing family of consortiums in Southern and Eastern Africa.

With Tanzania Soil Health Consortium this is likely to include write-shops and training of trainers to be able to deliver the ASHC write-shop approach. In addition to the presentation from ASHC, other presentations covered the application of Minjingu rock phosphate fertilizer which is made in Tanzania; maize-pigeonpea cropping system management; private sector approaches to seed production and the management of striga in maize using new ISFM techniques incorporating the use of the legume Canavalia bransiliensis also known as Brazilian jack bean. The ASHC Handbook for Integrated Soil Fertility Management was also distributed.

For more information please contact James Watiti.