Published: June 26th 2012June 25th 2012
Last Thursday, six of us from the TV set out to the Morogoro Region to take part in a fact finding mission with regards to farming. This is in regards to the second TV series I will be helping the team produce for Tanzanian youth.
The series is called, Ruka Juu! Young Farmers In Business!
It will be a 13 part series with each episode being one hour in length. We are going to take six contestants from different regions in Tanzania, aged 18-30 and they will compete in a variety of challenges related to farming. The various topics will include... "Know Your Region, Know Your Competion", "Raising Capital", "Water & Irrigation",
and "Getting Your Crops To Market"
, just to name a few.
Viewers will text in their votes for their favourite contestant. We will also have 3 judges who will critique and encourage them in addition to giving them scores based on their efforts. The winner of the contest wins 5 million Tanzanian Shillings (approx. $3,210.00 USD based on today's exchange rates).... Not a lot of money to us but an abundance to the locals.
This is the second season for the show. It proved to be
quite successful last year.
The purpose of the show is to encourage Tanzanian youth to consider farming as an option to making money. With millions out of work and no money coming in, Tanzania has land available to those who want to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
In order to do the show properly, we need to know what we are talking about, so we headed off to meet the men and women who are cultivating the land as well as those who are helping them create some sort of life for themselves.
Our first stop was the Sekoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro Town. Here we has two meeting with officials there about holding a five day "Boot Camp", where the contestants would come together to learn more about farming, business plans and the like. They were very interested in being a part of the show.
After the meetings, we were off to the town of Kilosa (Kee-low-sah) where we met two farmers who have been working the land for the past couple of years.
The first young man we met is named, Festo Nesho . He is working close to
5 acres of land. He is married with a child and he is 27 years old. He farms wild tomatoes and beans.
After a 10 minute walk from the main road, we came across this gorgeous piece of land on the shores of a river. This young man is fortunate as he has a permanent access to a water source. As the TV team interviewed him in kiswahili, I wandered his land taking pictures and videos.
At times, I cannot believe how lucky am to spend a couple of days in the countryside recording the sights and sounds of rural Tanzania.
After our meeting with Festo, we went to meet our second potential contestant. His farm was about 20 minutes from a small village. No one's farms seem to be along the roads like they are at home. They are plots of land that are tucked away and the only way of getting to them are by way of foot paths.
His name is Rashid. He is close to 30 years old (he doesn't know his exact age, which is quite common here since no one registers their children when they are born). He has just
over 5 acres of land and he farms beans, maize, mangos, bananas, a little rice, and coconuts. He is a very smart guy who seems to be making a good career of farming. He is married.
When I met Rashid, he told me (through a translator) that I was the first Muzungu he met in his life. He said that he had seen them on TV so he knew they were real, but I was the first LIVE one he met.
Both young men had very good sense of humours and were quite personable and good for TV.
The next day, we traveled to another district in the Morogoro Region. The name of the district is called Mvomero (Mm-vaum-air-oh). Here, there are several givernment/donor projects going on.
We visited a young woman who is a rice farmer. Her name is Anita and she operates a 3 acres rice farm. She told us she is 30 years old.
I have never been to a rice farm before so I found it quite interesting. The rice grows in irrigated water plots and the farmers pull on their gum boots and head into the marshy grounds. There were
plenty of herons and other birds making nests in the area.
For the rest of the second day, we met several other candidates. Since this was just a research trip, we need to travel back to the region to do official scouting, interviews, etc.
We returned home yesterday with a much better understanding of the issues and concerns of young farmers.
I will spend the week in the office before I set out to the region of Arusha in the north (near Mount Kilimanjaro) to start talking to potential contestants up there. I will be on the road for 12 days up there. I promise to have more pictures and stories for you then.
There are more photos below