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Integrating Nutrition Training into Agricultural Production Improves Family Health and Incomes in Tanzania

In Tanzania, a Feed the Future program is working to improve household health and nutrition through trainings on home garden production, education related to household nutrition, and HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and control.
 
Home gardens – often managed by the women of the household – are particularly effective in improving nutrition because they provide an easy, inexpensive means to produce vegetables rich in micronutrients and are conveniently located just outside families’ doors. Feed the Future’s local partner, Njombe Agriculture and Development Organization (NADO), has helped more than 4,000 vulnerable households establish home gardens through on-site technical assistance and training and improved access to high-quality agricultural inputs like seed and fertilizer. Farmers in Njombe are earning an average of $600 in extra income from the surplus vegetables in their home gardens. 
 
In addition to helping establish the gardens, Feed the Future and NADO trained more than 7,000 individuals in good agricultural practices and integrated pest management to improve productivity and increase household incomes from all farm activities. Trainees learned the dietary properties of garden crops, with an emphasis on their vitamin and mineral content and how it relates to maintaining proper nutrition. They also received basic training in HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and control.
 
Igwachanya Secondary School, located in Njombe, established a vegetable garden with support from the Feed the Future-NADO partnership. The garden is now a source of fresh and healthy produce for the students. 
 
“We had been lacking an alternative for the students who had problems with just beans in their meals, but the [introduction of] vegetables has eased this problem,” says Assistant Headmaster Lutatus Mlomo. 
 
Aspart of a broader effort across East Africa to promote orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to combat vitamin A deficiency, Feed the Future has also distributed more than 18,000 clean orange-fleshed sweet potato vines to smallholder farmers in Tanzania. The program is also holding cooking demonstrations to increase awareness of the health benefits of this crop variety, which is common in the United States but less familiar in African diets. In Njombe, the Feed the Future-NADO partnership has distributed more than 10,000 orange-fleshed sweet potato vines.
 
Smallholder farmer Peter Lupenzi is grateful for the assistance he received through the partnership, noting that his production costs have decreased now that he knows the correct amounts of fertilizer to apply and is using better-quality inputs. 
 
“Hybrid seeds, integrated pest management and advice from the technical team have made our group produce a lot of vegetables for family consumption. Due to proper management of the plot, we get a lot of harvests, which generate income for the members,” Lupenzi says. 
 
The Tanzania Agriculture Productivity Program (TAPP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of the Feed the Future initiative. USAID-TAPP implements activities directly and through local partner organizations such as NADO. 

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