19. Oct. 2023
Between 2022 and 2023, the NGO ADDA initiated a transformative Irrigation Community Project in Dodoma. The project, aimed at providing a sustainable solution to the water challenges faced by communities in the capital region of Tanzania, has breathed new life into the predominantly agricultural-based livelihoods.

By Elisha Thompson

In Tanzania’s Dodoma Region, where agriculture sustains over 80% of the population, the need for reliable water sources become increasingly evident. Located in the arid and semi-arid belt, Dodoma faced the grim reality of an unpredictable climate. Rainfall became scarce and inconsistent, leaving both human and agricultural water needs severely unmet.

"The initiative has managed to reach 136 farmers in Matumbulu Ward, Mkoka and Tubugwe Village which had been grappling with erratic rainfall and a dire shortage of water resources."

In response to this dire situation, ADDA took bold steps to change the lives of these communities. The project has facilitated the increased income through off season production to 136 small holder farmers and access to clean water for the their families (4-8 persons per household).

Matubulu Ward: irrigation and drinking water

In Matubulu Ward, ADDA implemented a multi-faceted approach that included drilling boreholes and installing solar-driven pump. This investment allowed water to be pumped to tanks and then channeled into dry season irrigation activities.

ADDA community project in Matumbulu Ward, TZ from Grundfos Foundation | PDJF on Vimeo.

Especially women and children in Matubulu were fetching water 1 km away from their homes. Now, they are obtaining clean drinking water close to their homes. The borehole is serving an estimate of 106 households per day, providing clean drinking water for people and livestock. The modest revenue from the water has entered a community owned bank account.

Matumbulu community women collection drinking water from the newly installed Grundfos solar driven irrigation pump.

Matumbulu community women collection drinking water from the newly installed Grundfos solar driven irrigation pump. Photo: ADDA

There is also a substantial new income from selling tomatoes which now can be grown in the dry season where prices are more than double as off-season production.

New Tomato plant in the dry season, Matumbulu village

New Tomato plant in the dry season, Matumbulu village. Photo: ADDA

Farmers more than double their income

InĀ  Matumbulu and Tubugwe, the farmers were previous planting tomatoes, cabbages and onion, but the major crop was cabbage (around 8 acres).

"Before, they harvested 56,000 pieces of cabbage (TZS 300 each), earning the farmers TZS 16,800,000. Now, the same area provides 140,000 pieces of cabbage and an income of TZS 42,000,000."

Tubugwe village witnessed a remarkable transformation with the construction of canals 450 meters that directed water from available sources to community farms 59 acres. This innovation ensured that every member of the group had access to water for their farms. Before they were fighting for water

Canals boost farming communities in Tubugwe Village, TZ from Grundfos Foundation | PDJF on Vimeo.

Quality sunflower seed production

In Mkoka village, the project installed water tanks and solar pump. They also dug small well near the river to efficiently harness water resources. The solar pump moves river water into the tanks, facilitating irrigation activities. Moreover, the project introduced the community to sunflower seed farming, a new opportunity with tremendous potential.

ADDA irrigation project in Mkoka Village, TZ from Grundfos Foundation | PDJF on Vimeo.

In Mkoka and Tubugwe, the community grant managed to introduce the production of Quality Declared Seed (QDS). So far, 37 acres have been planted and farmers expect to harvest 289 bags (with an conservative average of 8 bags per acre with 65 kg each) with an expected income of TZS 57,720,000 (where 1kg easily can be sold 3000 TZS). There was no income before, and this is only possible with irrigation in the dry season where the quality is much better.

Sunflower field Mkoka

Sunflower field in Mkoka. Photo: ADDA

The Community Development has been nothing short of a lifeline for the people of Dodoma, Tanzania. By addressing the water challenge through innovative means, these communities have experienced a remarkable transformation in their lives and livelihoods.