Special programme is one among the programmes within the Ministry of agriculture which is working under Zonal Research Center. This programme under the Zonal Research Center (NARI) has the Zonal mandate of conducting research on the Soil Survey and land evaluation, soil fertility management, Agroforestry, Irrigation and drainage. Also have the Soil laboratory and GIS Unit. This Unit provides Soil laboratory services to the government, NGOs and private institutions in the southern zone. For the GIS laboratory, it provide services and develop a geographical database for compiling maps and data covering the Southern zone (Mtwara and Lindi Regions and Tunduru district part of Ruvuma region).
The Units and its function:
Soil and Land Resources Inventory (for Land use Planning): The department carries out soil survey and land evaluation studies for land use planning at different levels from regional to farms. The purpose is to identify areas for different land utilization types depending on land characteristics, soil properties and climatic conditions.
Soil fertility management: This involves the management of the soil to provide suitable physical, biological and chemical conditions for increased crop production. There are on station trials on increasing and maintaining soil fertility in cashew fields. These include green manure application by the use of crotalaria, Tropical kudzu, mjini and cow peas, acidity control, through lime application and encouraging health of beneficial soil organisms.
Soil conservation: This involves management strategies for prevention of soil being eroded from the earth’s surface or becoming chemically altered by overuse, salinization, acidification, or other chemical soil contamination. The principal approaches these strategies take are: choice of vegetative cover, erosion prevention, prevention and remediation of soil contamination and mineralization.
Currently at the department we are conducting an assessment of different soil conservation techniques to control soil erosion (this contains tied ridges, ridges and fallows, fanya juu, matengo pits, lemon (grasses) strips and grilicidia strips as well as the use of improved fallow management practices (sesbania, tephrosia, grilicidia, leucaena and caliandra).
Agroforestry: This combines agriculture and forestry technologies to create integrated and sustainable land-use systems. The department has a small multipurpose tree and shrub nursery for soil fertility improvement, food and fuel wood production.
Irrigation and drainage: This involves addition of water to plants, to help them grow at the same time to allow excess amount of water to move out of the field to prevent salinization and excess flooding. The department has been involved in the provision of recommendation for Mngoji vegetable irrigation scheme and utilization of surface runoff through rice bund for better rice yields in the area with inadequate rain.
Soil Laboratory: This provides soil analysis services to the government and private institutions in the zone. The laboratory has the capacity to conduct complete soil survey and soil fertility analysis and other determination e.g. Water.
GIS and Remote Sensing: This unit which is known as GIS Information Centre is responsible for Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data management and maps production. It provides services and/or assistance in fields of GPS, Land Surveying and Mapping. Also, provides trainings in GIS and Remote Sensing basics to any interested person. Assistance can also be given to develop a Database and set up GIS operation at the site.
Major Area of Research
This programme has a mandate in the southern zone to conducting research on the soil and water management. Agro-forestry, Improving and maintaining soil fertility, evaluation of environmental, effect of chemicals used for pest and disease in crops, Soil survey and land evaluation in the southern zone of Tanzania has been our main focus.
- Zawadi Kilingala - Field Technician
- Stanslaus A Lilai - Lab Technician