“My engagement and commitment in ensuring Natural Resource Management activities are well observed by people in my village has made me successful. My desire is to see the whole land of Makomero village turns into green and fertile.” Mathias Luhende says.
Mathias Luhende is a man living at Makomero village of Igunga district. He became aware of Heifer International Tanzania’s Igunga Eco-Village activities in September 2015. This was through a village meeting in which the Igunga Eco- village project staff attended and introduced the project to Makomero village residents.
Through this meeting Mr. Luhende realized that the project has entered at Makomero village with the aim of helping the community members to understand the importance of environmental conservation and how they could fight drought in Igunga district.
“At the meeting, the Eco- village staff emphasized that it is important for us to plant trees as this will help in fighting drought in our village. We were also informed that through using agricultural skills that are suitable for dry areas we may increase our farms’ productivity.
I was so inspired and this was an eye opener to me. Prior to this meeting I did not have any knowledge regarding the importance of environmental conservation and what to be done to support it. So, I said to myself that I must do a great job to fight drought in Mwanzugi village.” Said Mr. Luhende.
Following the village meeting, Makomero village formed a Natural Resource Management group called Chapakazi whereby Mr. Luhende was elected to be the chairperson. The group started with 16 members and to date it has 25 members (8 Female and 17 male).
Mr. Luhende decided to offer ¼ acre of his land for the group to start Farmers Field School. The group was then provided with rice seeds by Heifer International and they planted the seeds in their group farm. The group was further instructed by the trained facilitators on how to use good agricultural skills including the use of improved seeds, timely seed sowing and harvesting, use of manure and appropriate spacing. The harvests were good and they harvested 10 sacks of rice.
Mr. Luhende was inspired by the training he received and so he decided to apply the skills into his personal rice farm where he planted 1 acre of rice.
“Contrary to the previous years where I used to harvest a maximum of 10 sacks, in early 2016 my farm yielded 40 sacks of rice. I sold all the rice sacks and earned 2,250,000 Tanzanian Shillings.
Thanks to Heifer International Tanzania that I was able to renovate my house to a modern standard using the funds I earned through selling rice. Without the skills, I wouldn’t have harvested such a huge amount of rice.” Proudly explained Mr. Luhende.
Through Heifer International Tanzania’s Igunga Eco Village project, Mr. Luhende also learned the importance of planting trees that includes reduction of soil erosion and prevention of desertification. He therefore planted 200 trees at his compound and sensitized his neighbours to plant some trees. A total of 378 trees have been planted by his neighbours at their house compounds.
“I am looking forward into seeing Makomero village turning green. I am making efforts to ensure that the whole village has this good knowledge on environmental conservation. This is done through presentations during village meetings and I sometimes do home visits” Mr. Luhende added.
To avoid unnecessary cutting of trees, Mr. Luhende also has installed a fuel-efficient stove on his house. He learned it from the artisans that were trained by Igunga Eco Village project. The artisans are hired by the villagers to make these stoves and they do it at a minimum cost of 10,000 shillings only.
“Makomero village has a total of 5 trained artisans, so I hired one of them to help in constructing this useful fuel efficient stove. Thanks to the Eco village project, my wife is now enjoying using this good stove. It gives out enough flame and it is fast in cooking food.” Happily, explains Mr. Luhende
Mr. Luhende explained that he is looking forward to contribute to trees conservation at his village as this stove uses a small number of fire woods compared to other stoves.
On seeing the good job done by Mr. Luhende in Makomero village including trees’ planting and passing on the knowledge to other community members, the Igunga Eco- village project offered him with a solar panel and now he is enjoying the solar power.
“Thanks to Heifer International Tanzania, I now have a modern house that I constructed using the profit I got from my rice farm, and my house is full of light during nights. I am similar to those people living in town.” Proudly explains Mr. Luhende.