Agricultural production in Kikwawila village, southeastern Tanzania

Acta Trop. 1987 Jun;44(2):245-60.


Food production, land utilisation and agricultural structures were surveyed at Kikwawila village, north of Ifakara (Kilombero District, Morogoro Region) in 1984. This study was part of a more comprehensive, longitudinal programme to investigate the health status of a rural community, aiming in particular at the interrelations between nutrition, parasitic infections, immunity and the environment. Out of 340 households, 100 were interviewed and their subsistence farming activities recorded. The soil was found to be of great variability, being fertile where it was of alluvial origin but of reduced potential where it was non-alluvial. In all, 70 plant species were registered as being cultivated, with rice, maize, cassava and beans providing the main staple food. Apart from a few exceptions, the fields were cultivated without any mechanization. The seasonal distribution of agricultural work is described, but no detailed workload analysis of the villagers with regard to age and sex has been performed. At the foot of the mountains, where artificial irrigation has been introduced, dry season cropping was practised in addition to the prevailing wet season farming, which rendered the cultivation of marketable crops (mainly tomatoes) possible. The farmers were found to be imaginative and capable of adapting to various conditions, irrespective of their tribal origins. Alternatively, the quality of the soil and the unreliable availability of water set limits to the potential of food production in the area. Although land is still available, it is becoming more scarce as the human population increases. The further impoverishment of the land represents an imminent danger. Therefore, top priority ought to be given to soil conservation, followed by intercropping and/or crop rotation, seed production and crop protection against game and pests. Means of implementing such measures are discussed. It is suggested that Community Agricultural Workers be installed, elected by the villagers and trained to establish the link between the existing agricultural extension service and the farmers' communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Fabaceae
  • Food*
  • Health Status*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Manihot
  • Oryza
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Seasons
  • Soil*
  • Tanzania
  • Zea mays


  • Soil