The adoption of modern farming through farmers’ groups has improved farmers’ yields in the various villages of Unguja and Pemba Islands.

According to local farmers, many of them have moved from the traditional subsistence to modern farming methods, which involve the use of fertilizer quality seeds with benefits seen trickling through already.

Farmers receive training and small capital which is provided by the government, private sectors and development partners.

The sector has employed a number of people mostly youth who are largely engaged on modern watermelons and tomatoes farming.

Ramadhani Haji, a watermelon farmer from Bambi in Unguja South District who was trained on modern farming told the Zan Journal that there is success that he has witnessed since he started watermelon farming.

He noted that the trainings that farmers had undergone had brought positive results from farming which is a source of income for the majority of the rural population including himself.

He said previously, farmers practiced traditional farming which was unproductive.

 “The training I got provides what I mostly needed in agriculture as it is a school for professional farming,” he said.

 “Farmers will also be provided with quality seeds, fertilizers and access water for irrigation. My project has been of great success to me and my family,” he added

Haji said growing watermelons more professionally would increase produce, generate more income, and improve livelihoods.

 “Many people believe that farming doesn’t pay, but this belief is totally wrong because modern farming has enormous benefits. I have been able to send my children to the University from the watermelon farming,” he said.

 “Despite that I have a small piece of land, I now use it more productively. I harvest more than 3,000 watermelons from this small piece of land,” he said.

Muhisini Ali, another farmer from Donge village in the Unguja North Region said they have received more knowledge about modern watermelon farming.

Ali said they learned in groups and later went to every member’s farm to practice.

He added that it is easier for everyone to learn and improve farming techniques after practicing at every member’s farm.


He said he used to harvest between 1,000 and 1,200 watermelons from the one hectare of land he owned.

 “Watermelon farming helped to reduce the problem of importing these fruits from mainland Tanzania. At present there is no shortage of watermelons in our markets compared to the past few years,” he said.

 “I’m going to expand my farming to 3 hectares. Two hectares for watermelon and one hectare for tomato farming. As production increases, I will start with potatoes farming while at the same time investing in watermelon juice,” he said.

Shaame Ali, one of the watermelon petty traders at Darajani market in the Municipality of Zanzibar said the produce has become one of the most popular businesses in Zanzibar.

 “I started this business two years ago and my clients are retailers. I sell up to 300 watermelons a day,” he said.

 “Of course this business is very profitable and what attracted me the most is the business cycle. I sell a variety of fruits depending on the season but now I sell more watermelons,” said Shaame.

He said he started the business with a capital of Sh700,000 and now his capital has increased to Sh5million.

Meanwhile, the government takes various efforts to address the challenges facing farmers especially the problem of accessing capital.

An official from the Youth Department said the government is implementing the youth employment program as part of its efforts to make the youth become self-reliant in agriculture.

He said at present a total of 3,051 young people is benefiting from the program in agricultural projects, small industries and entrepreneurship where the government has allocated  Sh12billion for the program.

 “We will support training, employment opportunities and finding the markets for the products they will produce. Our target is to ensure that Zanzibar is self-sufficient in agricultural products including watermelons,” he said.

He said in the program, 660 youth are involved in technical projects of which 400 are in modern agriculture, adding that in support of the agricultural sector, 19 greenhouses will be built along with the drilling of 32 wells for irrigation.

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