Over the years, banana has become one of the major and economically important fruit crop across East Africa and the demand for it is increasing in Zanzibar as well. The first farm that was settled by the NGO was the banana plantation, in Mbweni. Since then, we extended our production with 4 other farms across the island.
MBWENI AND KISAKASAKA
The first farm (2 acres) is in Mbweni at the Manor House Zanzibar Boutique Hotel. Up to now, more than 1500 plants were planted. The main variety of the banana plants is Mtwike (Williams) and was cultivated using tissue culture technique.
According to experts, tissue culture banana is highly recommended for cultivation and hence this the route that the NGO sought to pursue. Among the benefits of tissue culture banana cultivation, we have:
- Infection free planting material (Pest free, Disease free and Virus free)
- Uniform growth of all the plants unlike plants cultivated using suckers
Optimal yield is ensured by following proper cultural practices and a shorter harvesting period (earlier maturity of crops). These enable flexibility in accordance with planting season and marketing demand.
The team that was entrusted with this farm got special training on banana farming. They realised different visits in Arusha to discover tissue culture cultivation. Further to this, they attended workshops in Arusha to develop their skills in banana cultivation using tissue culture. Once in the field, they have put into practice what they learned and have been trained by TAHA to make sure banana plants will grow well.
Apart from banana plantation at Mbweni farm, there are also other projects as passion fruit plantation, broccoli, mint, or even parsley grown using organic practices. The aim is to develop an appealing view of Mbweni farm where tourists staying at The Manor House Zanzibar can enjoy and discover how agriculture is in Zanzibar.
The second farm is in Kisakasaka, in South of the island, near Fumba. As in Mbweni, this farm has been selected for banana cultivation with 1500 plants in 2 acres.
Chwaka farm is located at Filao Beach Resort in Chwaka, Zanzibar. The first main fruit crop that was selected for cultivation was watermelon (F1 variety) and the first seeds were sown in July 2020.
Plots were divided in portions such that cultivation is done in phases of 2 weeks between cultivations. With the help of TAHA and by hiring an agronomist into the NGO, we decided to change our strategy.
Indeed, we keep our plot divided in portions, but we are growing different family group of crops to allow soil regeneration. Intercropping is also used in Chwaka farm to prevent diseases and to grow green pepper, eggplant or even tomatoes.
Located in the middle of the island, Kiboje is where we are growing many crops, in a 5-acre-land, such as papaya, sweet melon, cucumber, broccoli, butternut or even lettuce!
To ensure sustainability of our farm, crop rotation and intercropping have been put in place to preserve our soil and prevent diseases. Compost and organic treatments are currently used in Kiboje with the idea of developing sustainable agriculture in Unguja.
Moreover, we settled in Kiboje farm two greenhouses of 600 m2 to allow production in good quality and quantity. Indeed, greenhouses permit to produce throughout the year without being dependent on the rainy seasons.
The risk of diseases is lower compared to open farming, and we can produce in large amount crops such as cucumber, sweet melon, or colour peppers (especially green pepper and red pepper bell).
Mbweni is also the place of mushroom production. To make sure the NGO grows the best oyster mushroom in Zanzibar, our team got their training from Ms. Upendo Mhapa, one of the top producers and promoters of mushroom cultivation in Tanzania. She took her studies at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam and trained more than 500 individuals across the country.
Unfortunately, Our Farm Zanzibar cannot longer produce oyster mushrooms due to technical reasons. Indeed, we couldn’t grow oyster mushrooms in the quantity required because we couldn’t control the humidity and the temperature necessary for mushroom development.
Now, we have a proper space to develop and increase this production and we will implement it after we finalise the farm development.