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Tanzanian banana farmer, Hajjat, boosts her banana yield threefold


The CABI-led banana agronomy project in Tanzania has improved small-scale farmers’ highland banana cropping practices and raised banana productivity, changing the lives of those who participated through the sharing of agricultural information and good banana farming practices. The project helped Hajjat Rehema Hussein, a farmer in Tanzania’s Kagera region, to treble her banana production. She now has enough money now to cover her daily costs and has used her profits to double her land.

The story

Hajjat Rehema Hussein is a farmer in Tanzania’s Kagera region where bananas are a staple food crop for 1.2 million people. She has cultivated bananas for over 30 years using traditional methods and, like many smallholder banana farmers in Tanzania, has lost yields and income due to banana pests and diseases and changes in climate conditions and soil health.

In 2018, CABI participated in a banana agronomy project through the Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) planning and sharing farming campaign information to help smallholders improve their highland banana cropping practices in East Africa.

In Tanzania, the specific goal was to raise banana productivity from 10 ton/ha/yr to 25 ton/ha/yr. CABI developed a banana calendar, poster and training guide and provided hands-on training to partners on developing communication materials for farmers.

Hajjat Rehema’s household was one of the 2,147 reached through the training. In 2019, after visiting a demonstration plot hosted by a project agricultural advisor, she started using the improved agronomic practices taught through the project such as fertilizer (manure) application, selection of suckers (shoots) for planting, spacing and pest management. Like many other farmers on the project, she started to see results.

In June 2020, the project team reported that farms in Izimbya had achieved 87% of the project’s goal of 25 metric tons per hectare per year and, in Rombo, 82%.

As for Hajjat, she says her farm has flourished: “After I started to use improved management practices, my plantation [changed] drastically. The production shifted from 20-30 bunches per month per acre to 70-90 bunches per month per acre.” More bunches mean more income. Hajjat used her profits to double her land and create a vegetable plot where she grows cabbage. Now, she has more than enough money to cover her daily costs.

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.

Zero Hunger

Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.

Gender Equality

Empowering women and young people to play a more powerful role in the future of agriculture.

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Related projects

Improving banana agronomy practices for small scale farmers in East Africa

Over 50 million people in East Africa depend on highland bananas for their food and/or income. Annually, the crop’s production is worth around $4.3 billion, However, pests and diseases, nutrient deficiencies and drought stress continue to affect average productivity of banana. This project is working with private and public partners to help farmers bridge the yield gap by providing appropriate knowledge and skills in good management practices that will improve farmers’ productivity with the aim of reaching 25,000 households in Uganda and Tanzania and creating a value of over $14.3 million.

Start: 01/07/2018 End: 31/07/2020