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Tree Crops Program Thrives in Tanzania

EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV) assisted tree nurseries in Tanzania have produced more than 3 million fruit and timber tree seedlings for outplanting in the    next rainy season.  And even more amazing, this is the result from just this year alone. Funded by USAID, the program - now in its third year - is helping tree crops farmers and other subsector entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the income-generating opportunities presented by tree crops cultivation in Tanzania's Southern Highlands. 
 
One of the farmers assisted by the program, Mr. Elias Lunyungu, initially started a small nursery with the goal of producing seedlings for planting on his farm.  However, since the coming of the EWV project and the increased demand for timber and fruits, he has been able to make tree seedling production and planting a full time business. Before becoming involved with EWV, Mr. Lunyungu would produce around 10,000 tree seedlings and plant an average of five to six acres on an annual basis. Now, with the support, encouragement, and training from the EWV project he has increased seedling production to more than 75,000 per year.

This year he had 77,236 seedlings, of which he sold 47,236. That alone earned him 1.9 million shillings. Mr. Lunyungu has expanded his farm tremendously during the two years he has collaborated with EWV. For the past two planting seasons, he has managed to plant more than 50,000 trees that cover around 90 acres.  Furthermore, Mr. Lunyungu’s success with the project has motivated him to become involved in other areas. First on his list is fruit improvement, specifically avocado grafting, where he already has a success rate of 95-100%.  Mr. Lunyungu is now passing the knowledge and skills he learned from the program to other farmers, in the hopes that they will reap the same rewards.