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University of Montana - Missoula (2015)

The Effect of Mulch and Watering on Tomato Yields and Potential for Adoption During the Dry Season in Nanjara Village, Tanzania

Okal Emily A.

Titre : The Effect of Mulch and Watering on Tomato Yields and Potential for Adoption During the Dry Season in Nanjara Village, Tanzania

Auteur : Okal Emily A.

Université de soutenance : University of Montana - Missoula

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2015

Résumé
Approximately 90% of subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are dependent on rain for irrigation and face increasing water access challenges. Residents of the village of Nanjara in Rombo District, Tanzania, report limited vegetable consumption during the dry season, as they are unable to cultivate vegetables due to limited water availability. This study examined constraints to on-farm livelihood development reported by members of TECOSO, a local environmental restoration group, and other residents of Nanjara who identified lack of access to capital, lack of access to water, and the small size of household agricultural plots as the primary challenges. TECOSO farmers and elderly residents reported planting year-round with greater yields prior to the 1980s. Consequently, in this experiment I chose to assess the effectiveness of locally available mulch on the production of a locally-valued crop – tomato – for domestic consumption and sale. Experimental treatments were developed in consultation with TECOSO members and included a control treatment where plants were neither watered nor mulched, one treatment of mulched but not watered plants, one treatment of watered but not mulched plants, and one treatment of mulched and watered plants. Treatments were randomly assigned in a randomized block design and methods were chosen to be easily repeatable and affordable by village residents in Nanjara ; TECOSO leadership recommended watering once a week during the dry season. Planting tomatoes with mulch and watering once a week during the cold, dry season (June-September) increased mean grams per plant by an average 165% times over the control (tomatoes planted conventionally : no mulch, no water) at p=0.05 confidence. Adding either water or mulch increased mean g/plant an average 56-92% over the control. Watering increased mean grams per fruit by 21% (p=0.05) over tomatoes receiving no water, regardless of mulch, and the number of fruits per plant increased by an average 49% when either mulch or water was added and by 95% when both were added (p=0.05). Mulching and watering once a week was considered a manageable labor investment by local residents and mulch is readily available, which make planting tomatoes during the dry season a feasible response to limited water availability. However, TECOSO members are smallholders who currently have little incentive to plant during the dry season due large volumes of produce imported from irrigated farms in nearby Kenya and limited market opportunities in larger Tanzanian markets. Planting with mulch during the dry season appears to be very appropriate for domestic consumption. Nevertheless, most TECOSO members and other residents of Nanjara are hesitant to adopt new cultivation practices.

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Page publiée le 15 octobre 2015, mise à jour le 22 décembre 2017