Drought resistant seeds bring back hope

A family's harvest dramatically increases after they are provided with drought resistant seeds from World Vision.

Tanzania’s economy is agrarian and mostly depends on rain fed-agriculture, with more than 80 per cent of Tanzanians relying on subsistence agriculture. In 2011, in northern Tanzania, many families experienced a prolonged drought which caused insufficient food in many households.

Anna Festo lives in northern Tanzania around King’ori Area Development Programme (ADP). Anna’s husband ran away from his family after life became hard.

“My husband left because of hunger that struck in my family last year, he could not support my family,” Anna says. Anna has five beautiful children; the first born Vumilia is 12 years old and the last born Elisha is two.

Through World Vision Tanzania, Anna received nutritious flour which helped her family, especially her three children under the age of five during the 2011 drought.

“My children’s health turned better after drinking nutritious porridge which I was given through our ADP,” Anna commented. “Last year we were eating one meal per day, the flour which we receive from World Vision was sweet and gave me more energy,” Vumilia adds.

The 2011 food shortage in northern Tanzania caused many families to go hungry with less than a full meal a day. The shortage of food was caused by drying up of crops in farms due to insufficient rains. When the rains started, World Vision Tanzania distributed drought resistant seeds to families who were seriously affected.

Anna Festo is one of many people who received the drought resistant seeds. “I did not expect to get such a yield after the experience I went through last year. This is the crop that we need to plant every year in our area.”

Anna is glad that she is food secure throughout the year after getting enough yields from her farm.

Anna is now planning to buy her daughter a school uniform after selling one of the bags of maize that she will harvest soon. “I was stopped from going to school by teachers because I had no uniform,” Vumilia says. “Now I am happy because my mother has promised to buy one for me.”

Anna’s children look happier and healthier compared to last year. Her three children were suffering from rickets – a disease caused by lack of calcium that attacks the legs. Two of the children were only able to walk on one leg at that time, because the disease was so severe but now they are doing better after treatments and getting nutritious meals.

She is so thankful to World Vision for supporting her family. “I don’t know how my children could survive if not the nutritious flour I got from the ADP,” she says.

With drought resistant seeds, Anna is expecting to harvest 10bags (100kg per bag) of maize. She adds that this is enough to keep her with enough food until the next harvesting season. “Last year I harvested two bags of maize from my farm plot. This year I am amazed, I expect to harvest not less than 10 bags,” she explains.

“Thanks to World Vision and may God bless you and continue supporting other communities who are suffering like us,” she concludes.