Four team members: Theophilo Nyigaga (aka Mwalimu), Ikunda Marandu, soon-to-depart Mary Maganga and Trainer Emmanuel Itonye, found themselves in the centre of the action.
The topics covered included seed selection, raising of seedlings, fertilizer application, and pest and disease management.
The team was also on hand to provide farmers with the technical eternal calendar, crop guides and the popular SEVIA technical newsletter (Mkulima wa SEVIA). These are materials developed by SEVIA which farmers continue to find useful in their production and marketing processes.
Did we mention that the main theme for SEVIA was control of Tuta absoluta? Maybe not. Apparently this year was unique in that SEVIA had this equally unique theme for the fair. Tuta Absoluta is one of the biggest challenges especially in tomato production in Tanzania and beyond. Aided by a relevant poster from one of our partners and a team that had the relevant recommendations at its fingertips, farmers left the SEVIA stand fully satisfied that their problems would now become a thing of the past.
SEVIA’s contribution to the farmers in Meru did not go unnoticed. SEVIA was deservedly awarded a certificate of appreciation by the authorities for serving farmers in Meru District and beyond.
By the time the Meru Fair closed its gates in the dusk of Saturday the 30th of November 2019, a staggering 528 farmers had been reached by SEVIA in 3 days. Looking back at this event, one cannot help but think that it was a fitting finale to a project whose work was epitomized by intensive extension. Perhaps such events can still be witnessed again in the future, this time at the SEVIA Centre as the project continues with its training program, but it can never be the same. Yet the streamlined Team SEVIA can still wave a magic wand so that it can once again come back to the big “dance” in Meru next year and in other years to come.
After 5 years of intensive extension work that hosted 1161 demonstrations, trained 1435 sector professionals and reached 48341 farmers in Tanzania, SEVIA is indeed a project in transition.
While the SEVIA Centre continues to train students, lead farmers and sector professionals, the outreach is now being done by partner companies (Rijk Zwaan and East-West Seed) who absorbed the majority of the professional/technical staff, including the management.
To mark this milestone, on the 19th of December 2019 SEVIA held a joint Christmas and Farewel1 party for all staff and especially in honour of team members leaving SEVIA by 31 December 2019. A team of 18 staff members remained, which is a far cry from the heydays of 2016/17 when we had 48 staff members. With this transition, Team SEVIA and the Board have had to think outside the box. The good news is that this the remaining team will continue the training effort at the SEVIA Centre and that is this team will have advisory and training support from partner companies.
The staff exodus was highlighted by the departure of eleven staff members who left SEVIA on 31 December 2019.
As the 2019 year drew to a close, we pulled down the curtain on the first chapter of SEVIA. Going forward beyond December 2019, SEVIA 2.0 will no longer have a significant outreach component; that outreach will be done by Rijk Zwaan through its field team and through EWS using its Knowledge Transfer team. We must add that this knowledge transfer work has gone beyond the borders of Tanzania into countries like Uganda and Nigeria through initiatives by our partners.