Students Became the teachers- How learning new ways of farming from the youth in his community doubled the rice production of a 63-year old farmer


“I’ve been a farmer all my life. I had not received any training in agriculture and only
used my local knowledge,

” says Yohana Zablon (63), a smallholder farmer from

Njage Village in Morogoro, Tanzania.
“A few months ago, I was approached by some members of Tupendane Youth Group
in our village, who had just come back from a training programme in rice farming.
They went around the village inviting people to go and learn from their
demonstration plots. At

rst I was not interested, but with their insistence, I decided

to pay a visit to the demo plots,

” Zablon recalls.

The Tupendane Youth Group had been introduced to the Junior Farmer Field and Life
Schools (JFFLS) and received special training in System of Rice Intensi

cation (SRI),
a farming methodology that aims to increase yield while using less water, smaller
farming areas and reduced seed inputs. The training, conducted by FAO in
collaboration with Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, equipped the young farmers
with skills and knowledge, which they disseminated to the rest of their community
through SRI demonstration plots.
Zablon was eventually convinced of this new way of farming by the youth and the
level of competence they demonstrated. He enrolled in a training on SRI methods
provided by the student farmers.
“The young people taught me how to select the best seeds, how to establish a good
nursery and about the best time for sowing. They also taught me how to space the
seedlings for good results,

” Zablon discloses, adding: “This is all new to me! You
know, young minds are still active and productive. So I listen to them.”

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