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The MICCA pilot project in the United Republic of Tanzania

Combining conservation agriculture with agroforesty

In the United Republic of Tanzania’s Uluguru mountains, the MICCA pilot project is being carried out within CARE International’s hillside conservation agriculture project (HICAP), in which soil conservation and zero tillage practices are integrated into smallholders’ farm management. HICAP’s activities are being carried out over an area of 17 000 ha and involve 4 948 households. The HICAP-MICCA pilot project will contribute to increasing the use of conservation agriculture practices and combining these practices with agroforestry. The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) is collaborating closely on this project.

The goal is to reduce pressure on forests, decrease deforestation and improve livelihoods. As part of their activities, the project team will develop a menu of climate-smart practices suitable to local conditions and work with families to install the energy-saving cookstoves to reduce the need for fuel wood. By measuring the increase in carbon accumulation resulting from these climate-smart practices, the pilot project will provide quantifiable evidence of the contribution smallholder farmers can make to mitigate climate change.

Some facts about the project site

The pilot project is active in 15 villages in the wards of Kolero, Kasanga, and Bungo, which are in the Morogoro Rural District of the Morogoro Region.

  • Climate: tropical montane
  • Soil classification: low-activity clays
  • Altitude: between 260 and 1 250  meters above sea level 
  • Forest losses: from 1955 to 2001, there was more than a 40 percent loss in forest area, declining from 300 km2 to 230 km2

In 2011, a socio-economic survey team, which interviewed 333 farmers, collected data in five villages that are representative of the terrain and population. Also in 2011, a capacity needs assessment was done. Here are some of the findings from these reports:

  • The main land uses are agriculture (70 percent), forest (10 percent), steep hills and settlements (10 percent) and rice paddy (5 percent).
  • The mean size of cultivated land is 2.5 acres (median 2 acres) per farmer. More than half of all farmers cultivate their own land. More than a third work on rented land.
  • Three‐quarters of farmers practice cropping and raise small livestock, mainly chickens and some goats. The rest engage in cropping only.
  • More than a quarter of all planted crops are maize, followed by cassava and paddy. Banana, sorghum and sesame are also cultivated.
  • Animals raised as livestock are mainly poultry, goats and sheep. Larger farm animals are not found in the area.
  • Farm assets are very basic (hoe and shovel). Only a few households own improved tools.
  • The most striking problem for interviewees with regard to agriculture are diseases (27.2 percent of all given answers), followed by low yields (19.3 percent), low rainfall (14 percent) and prolonged dry seasons (9.7 percent).
  • Almost half the farmers practice slash and burn.
  • The average tree density is estimated at 10 trees per 100m2.
  • The majority of households consume their own products and sell any surplus (91.6 percent).
  • Main household incomes are generated by selling maize, sorghum, sesame, cassava and chicken.
  • Using the World Bank poverty lines of 2 USD and 1.25 USD per day per head, only two households and its members who participated in the MICCA survey live above the poverty line of 1.25 USD per day, and only one household above the poverty line of 2 USD per day.

• Go to the socio-economic survey.
• Go to the capacity needs assessment.

EX-ACT assessment of mitigation potential

The Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) EX-ACT provides ex-ante estimates of the impact of activities in the agriculture (including livestock), forestry, and other land use sectors on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration. EX-ACT determines the impacts on the carbon-balance by comparing two scenarios: ‘without project’ (the ‘business as usual’ or ‘baseline’) and ‘with project’. EX-ACT is a land-based accounting system that uses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology for estimating carbon stocks and stock changes per unit of land and through time.

EX-ACT has provided assessments for the mitigation potential of different farm management options in pilot project area. However, it should be kept in mind that data pertaining to local conditions was difficult to obtain. For this reason, some data was based on national statistics. Furthermore, the assumptions used in the different scenarios may not completely reflect the reality on the ground. Therefore, the results of this EX-ACT assessment should be taken with some caution.

The EX-ACT assessment found that the HICAP-MICCA pilot project has the potential to create a net sink of 574 550 tonnes of CO2 equivalent under a relatively optimistic scenario. Under a more conservative scenario, 313 767 tonnes of CO2 equivalent could be mitigated. The net sink is due to the increased agroforestry, a move away from monocropping to diversified cropping and improved agronomic practices. By themselves, the HICAP project interventions either reduce or sequester 28 709 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent) as compared to the baseline.

• Go to the EX-ACT assessment.

última actualización:  viernes 30 de mayo de 2014