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Ngara, TZ – SODAT, schools and families’ achievements in 2023 – Jan 2024

In 2023, the SODAT team assisted schools and the community to save costs of maintaining farming production. Also, volunteer parents enabled the SODAT team to spend time establishing businesses.

Manure tea tests showed a way to achieve better harvests that sustain breakfast feeding every school day. The manure tea is made up of the dried cow manure in a porous bag soaked in water, and filtered after 10 days fermentation when it is ready for spraying or watering on the growing plants for better harvests. It was found to be “6E” efficient, effective, easy, enjoyable, economical and environmentally friendly, and had a low “TCO” Total Cost of Ownership during the corn growing trial at Mukibogoye primary school.

The schools have been using industrial fertilizer, which has damaging side effects on the soil micro-organisms and farm economy due to gradually rising costs caused by the soil losing fertility and requiring more fertilizer each year. Every farming season, the corn has to be planted with more cow manure or compost, and mulch applications to retain the soil fertility. The trial study shows the corn grown using the tea manure is more healthy compared to planted with cow or compost manure. Therefore, SODAT plans to expand the tea manure knowledge to the other schools as a low TCO total cost ownership production way to sustain corn production.

SODAT will test in 2024 how much manure tea can reduce three schools’ corn farming manure budget from the current 1,520,000 TZS / US$620 per 7.5 acres. A truck load of manure costs 190,000 TZS / US$80, so SODAT will test how many truck loads of manure for making tea will be needed to sustain growing corn on 7.5 Acres until harvest time.

SODAT has assisted with buying “PICS” Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags for long term storage. The bags are made with triple layers to prevent insects from destroying stored food. The PICS bags reduce the costs and risks of storing food by removing the need for using pesticides and preservatives on the stored corn. This protects the children’s breakfast from potentially harmful chemicals.

SODAT reduced their team working time from 5 days to 3 days per week, this was made possible by the MVG Vicoba families volunteering their time to assist SODAT in the fields with food production to maintain breakfast serving at the schools. The SODAT team took this as an opportunity to establish businesses for earning additional income for home improvements.

During the school and parents meeting, SODAT aims to train farmers how to make and use manure tea, and use PICS bags for storage to reduce costs and so sustain feeding the school children until the next harvests. The school childrens’ parents have been contributing 50% of the school feeding ingredients annually, and have now agreed to contribute 100% in order to achieve a sustainable breakfast program.