Shabani Mussa (52) is a man who believes in implementing what he learns and over the years he has succeeded in becoming a better farmer through this. Shabani started vegetable production of tomato, sweet pepper and okra in Babati in 1995. Then he was growing open pollinated varieties and using techniques he had learned from his family and neighbours. In October 2016 Shabani met a young extension officer (Ladislaus Mkufya) from SEVIA and his life changed forever.
Ladislaus and Shabani established a tomato demo on the latter’s farmer and used it as a learning area for the farmer and his neighbours. The demo highlighted trellising of tomato, use of hybrids and good crop management.
“Right now I have 3 acres of Imara F1 and Eden F1, fully trellised”, he says, referring to two hybrids from East-West Seed and Seminis respectively. “I bought them here in Babati. I like their yield. Imara F1 has large fruit size. It also needs more water though.”
On his newly found enthusiasm in trellising and drip irrigation, he smiles: “Trellising makes my crop management easier, like drip that makes my life easier.”
Which challenges does he face? Shabani sighs that prices are always a challenge: “Prices are fluctuating. Sometimes they are high, now they are low. Whiteflies are also a big problem as you can see, but I have been spraying Actara.”
Shabani’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. He expects to take vegetable production to the next level in the near future following being awarded with a greenhouse.
Shabani: “Another project recently donated a greenhouse to me. In the next two months I will buy seed of coloured sweet pepper and start production, other farmers will also come to learn about greenhouse production on my farm.”
Given what he has already done, we are convinced Shabani will succeed.