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KEDA is a Tanzanian grass roots charity is seeking academic or skilled volunteers and interns to help them research into environmental and social topics. This is a great placement for volunteers who require to carry out research as part of a masters or PhD, volunteers who would like to stay for 6 months as a volunteer coordinator or people with experience, or with the drive to gain experience, in charity and development work.

 

Kilimanjaro Environmental Development Association, or KEDA, focuses on those that need the greatest help. These include families living in severe poverty or ill health. KEDA believes that the most sustainable way for a family to escape poverty permanently is to be self sufficient and generate their own income.

 

KEDA was founded in 1992 initially to address serious degradation on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. However, in order to tackle the environmental issues, the underlying issues of poverty within the region need also to be addressed. Farmers living in poverty would not invest their time and effort into an environmental scheme if it did not help them personally. KEDA focuses on increasing community awareness of environmental destruction and HIV. This is achieved by targeting small scale farmers and making them aware of their impact on their environment, and how to best conserve their farm land. This is accomplished via a variety of programmes that aim to increase household income while maintaining or improving environmental issues. An example is increasing food security in a sustainable manner via improved environmental awareness and education by the use of organic agriculture. KEDA has also implemented income-raising programmes as well as offering health education for people within the area who have HIV. KEDA works to increase living standards through sound environmental protection,and HIV education.

 

To find out more about KEDA's past projects please visit the case study page:

http://www.kilimanjarocharity.org/casestudies.html

 

Mr Pascal Sabbas Example of Agroforestry

Mr Pascal Sabbas is an active member of the Board of Trustees of both KEDA and CEDE. He has worked in many aspects of environmental work over his life, including as an Extension Officer for the government, working in the Forestry Training Institute in Arusha. He has worked in the disciplines of bee-keeping, forestry, cattle-keeping, and as board chairman to two schools.

Mr Sabbas operates 2.5 acres of agroforested area on his land, which provides numerous examples of specialist agricultural and horticultural technique which would be of use to farmers in the area, as well as many experimental species, testing their suitability for wider growth. This page documents these examples for reference.

 

Banana Plants

 

Long a staple of the Kilimanjaro region, bananas are a very important local crop, for both sale and subsistence, and thus their cultivation is of great importance. Mr Sabbas has been working on an experimental farm management programme for bananas since 1989, and his oldest current trees were planted in 2000.

Mr Sabbas has experimented on the best local soil type for banana growth, digging several separate holes and filling each with a different variety of soil, then planting a banana tree in each and recording their growth. The result of this is that he has determined that darker, browner soil fares poorer, whilst reddish clay soil works well. Mr Sabbas' suggested method is to first dig a suitably sized hole, leave it a month, fill it with manure (Mr Sabbas uses goat dropping and leaf litter), then leave another month before planting. This ensures that the soil contains many nutrients ready for the plant.

When a banana plant's stump has grown up out of the ground, then the tree will stop producing as much fruit and must be replanted. It takes 18 months to 2 years from the initial planting until a banana plant will begin to bear fruit, and in order for a harvest to be sustainable, banana's must be planted every season. March / April, August, and October / November are the three major seasons in which to plant bananas. If a tree is planted during the rainy season, it is less likely to do well, and if planted during hot weather, then it is much more likely to have an excellent harvest.

 

Plants and Crops

 

Chagga Plant - An endemic plant used as animal fodder, and for traditionally marking boundaries.

Desmodium - A small flowering plant, which 'fixes' nitrogen in soil, as well as producing chemical compounds which repel pests and kill weeds, especially in maize and sorghum fields.

Traditional Spinach - Edible and used in many traditional dishes, high source of iron, and also useful in controlling weeds.

Calliandra - A flowering plant that is used as fodder, and also acts as a snake repellent. Mr Sabbas notes that if cut at approx. 1 metre height, the plant will sprout more leaves and thus make better fodder.

American Avocado & Other Avocado Species - Produces edible avocado fruit from March to June, with some species producing fruit all year.

Cloves - Used in cooking, and a valuable export crop. These were grown experimentally, and their crop was passable.

Cinnamon - Also used in cooking and for exporting, and grown experimentally. The recent cinnamon crop fared well - somewhat better than the clove crop.

 

Disease and Problems

 

The banana trees of the plot have recently been suffering from a deal of dieback, which is a blackening and rotting / death of parts of the plant. This is caused by disease, most likely Black Sigatoka, a fungal leaf-spot disease that causes the wilting of the leaves and bark of the plant, often cutting its photosynthesis by up to 50%, thus producing a lower crop. The bananas that do grow suffer premature ripening. Black Sigatoka affects almost all the main cultivars of banana. The disease is treatable, but at great expense due to ever-increasing resistance amongst the disease - the current expense for treating 1 hectare is over $1000 a year. This, plus the environmental effects of this treatment are highly questionable. Thus Black Sigatoka remains a present and persistent threat to East Africa's banana crops, and requires much more research work into resistance and treatment.

The American Avocado has also been suffering from an as-of-yet unidentified disease, which hinders its ability to produce fruit.

 

Livestock

 

Mr Sabbas owns around a dozen goats, some being Sannin (white), and others which are hybrids of the Token Back and Sannin breeds. Sannin and Sannin hybrids offer a superior alternative to other local breeds of goat, as they give a higher quantity and quality of milk, as well as being hardier. However, Sannin are not well suited for those who cannot afford expensive facilities, as they are more fragile than other breeds.

Chickens are also bred by Mr Sabbas, with his current flock being hybrids of local chicken crossed with the Rhode Island Red, giving hardier and more productive birds.

 

Other Features

 

A seasonal rivers runs at the bottom of the site, with the advantages of crop irrigation and natural propagation, as seeds that fall are transported downstream. Mr Sabbas notes the importance of not disturbing natural riverside vegetation, and does not farm within 75m from the centre of the river.

Forest litter is used as compost for many of the plants. This is especially effective when combined with goat droppings.

A system of trenches and avenues provides a means for capturing storm water, as well as discouraging soil competition between plants and being a highly effective method for disease control. The trenches / avenues can be up to a metre in width, and the trenches several metres in depth. Catching storm water is important, as storm water often washes valuable nutrient-rich topsoil away, and the ditches provide a means of recapturing this lost topsoil.

A fish pond is being planned, which it is hoped will stock mudskippers, whose are of value is they eat mosquitoes and other pests. They are also resilient, and go into hibernation in winter.