MAJURA MAING from Tanzania’s Mara Cluster runs the Victoria Farming and Fishing Organisation - a group fighting hunger by helping local subsistence farmers learn to become sustainable agribusinesses. This is his story.
We started very small. After a drought in 1999, a few local farmers got together to see what they could do to fight poverty and hunger. We organised ourselves, and with support from the Roman Catholic church, started educating local people to use their own resources to grow more food.
Since then, we have grown a lot. We sought funding, equipment and training to make the most food out of small farms, and we began to grow. We’ve gone from sixteen farmers in one village to 3,000 members in the whole of Musoma district. We have sixteen community centres in sixteen villages.
My proudest achievement is that many people now take more pride in their farming. They see it as an activity that can lift them from their problems, and take them anywhere!
Irrigation infrastructure is our biggest challenge. We have Lake Victoria nearby, and if we have the right irrigation systems then maybe we can feed the whole region.
Climate change is changing what we grow. For example, we’ve started growing chilli peppers recently. It is very healthy, it’s drought-resistant, and so it can help us.
I believe the Cluster can help too. Our achievements are not yet spreading far enough. Through the Cluster, we can help more people. We can get advice from other groups, and we can advise others too – like Rose and the widows group which is looking to keep chickens to raise funds.
Learn more about the activities of Mara Cluster here.