The memo outlines the proposed joint venture agricultural initiative for Ifakara, Tanzania.
St. Francis University College (SFUCHAS) is blessed to be located in a rural setting of Kilombero Valley where fertile land for agriculture is available. From its inception in November 2010, the University has been endeavouring to acquire land from different Villages and District Authorities. The sought plots of land are meant for the expansion of university activities in areas of additional infrastructure; agricultural activities and environmental conservation.
The Catholic Diocese of Ifakara has offered about 40 Acres of land within Ifakara Township for the development of the University. The Campus Master Plan showing how the area will be utilized has been designed by Engineering Ministries International (EMI) from South Africa, with financial support from Provision Charitable Foundation, of Vancouver, BC, CANADA. With generous support from Trevor and Dixie Jones of Jones Family Foundation; a state of the art three-storey residence for SFUCHAS students has been built together with a borehole and 50,000 Lts water tower. These initial projects have occupied about 2 Acres of land leaving the rest of the land potentially good for farming.
The University has applied for 200 Acres of land from Kivukoni Village, about 15 Kms from Ifakara on the way to Mahenge. When the procedures of acquiring land are finalized, we intend to invest in planting Teak trees.
Furthermore, the University is in the process of acquiring 1,000 Acres of land from Idunda Village in Mahenge District (50 Kms from Ifakara) for agricultural activities.
For the purpose of this project proposal, the focus will be on the development of the 40 acres of land that SFUCHAS has within Ifakara Township.
Ifakara has a tropical climate and experiences wet and dry seasons with extreme seasonal variations in monthly rainfall. The rainy season lasts from October to June, during which the average rainfall can be as high as 350mm (especially the months of March and April). Daytime temperatures tend to be warm and overnight temperatures cool with daily averages spanning between 21 degrees Celsius in June/July to about 27 degrees Celsius in November.
For the purpose of our project, the site with 40 Acres will be divided into two separate sections-a Northern Zone where the New Residence is built and a Southern zone. The two zones are separated by the main drainage channel. The Northern Zone with approximate dimensions of 150M x 340M has about 11 Acres. The Southern Zone has about 30 Acres.
PLANNED DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTHERN ZONE
It is proposed that 8 Acres out of the 11 acres of land will be used for gardening. Our focus is on the production of vegetables with high nutritional benefits. This will surely result in health benefits to consumers and will reduce risks that are caused by an unreliable supply of vegetables to the market. The area can be irrigated during the dry season, and so could be used for gardening throughout the year. There is high demand for fresh vegetables in Ifakara town and gardening would be an economically viable project.
Three sides of this rectangular block will require fencing with a guarded gate. One side has been fenced by the Cancer Hospital.
PLANNED DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTHERN ZONE
This area which is about 30 Acres is planned for Rice Plantation and Sunflower. Since this area is far away from the source of water, it is difficult to irrigate. Much of the activities will be seasonal. Rice will be grown during the wet season and Sunflower during the semi-dry season. Besides Rice and Sunflower farming, Trees for timber, flowers and fruits will be planted along the Greenbelt indicated in the Campus Master Plan.
The area is uniquely suited to this type of project. Provision has drilled a borehole and built a water tower on site in anticipation of long-term development of the site so there is sufficient water for year-round irrigation. The area itself has year-round water and the land is fertile soil, all part of the Kilombero river valley so the program can be expanded.
Provision Has committed to fence the entire 11acres outlined as the northern section in the proposal and to construct structures needed to operate and to provide needed equipment and buildings. This cost is estimated to total approximately 250,000 $Cn. These funds have been raised and construction is nearing completion
There are other agricultural government agencies and educational facilities in Tanzania that would support the program (details available)
The elements of the project are:
Developing regenerative farming techniques and teaching farmers throughout the Kilombero river valley to apply these techniques; PCF is already assisting with farming in two other locations in the Kilombero valley. PCF has drilled wells at Mahenge and Luhombero, 5 hours and 8 hours drive away and has already started farming activities at both sites
Provision has set up beekeeping locations in five locations in the Kilombero river valley and would now like to build a processing centre to build the production of honey and wax. Again the valley is ideal for beekeeping due to the year-round supply of water. This would also involve training of local beekeepers etc.
Provision also wishes to develop a production facility using local materials to produce “rocket stoves” to replace the open three-stone cooking fires currently used by most subsistence farmers. This will provide significant environmental, health and financial benefits.
Teach agriculture and irrigation strategies to local subsistence farmers, along with beekeeping.
Provision would develop a memorandum of understanding to develop a regenerative agricultural project at Ifakara Tanzania. This memorandum would include SFUCHAS.
During the interim Provision will develop the fencing and required infrastructure immediately (funds have been raised ($250,000can) and construction has begun)