With over 70% of Tanzanians dependent on agriculture, it is evident that it’s a foundation for survival and a contributor to the national GDP of about 25%. The unreliability of the rainfall in most parts of the country have caused a gap in the production patterns in the sector. There have been instances where the weather becomes unfavorable by either heavy downpours or less to support crop growth. Rains in the northern part of the Tanzania, particularly Moshi lie on the windward side of mountain Kilimanjaro which is the side that experiences less rainfall to support the growth of crops.
Moshi’s lower attitude and drier climate mean that the main crops grown on the higher slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro like coffee, bananas, and others do not thrive there due to the less-moist soils. Other parts of Moshi grow crops like maize but only for one single season throughout the year during the “Masika” rain season. The poor agriculture yields are often related to the insufficient soil moisture often due to less rainfall in the area. During the rainy season, the rainfall efficiency is reduced by unproductive losses through surface runoff (soil erosion) and unproductive soil evaporation through the bare soil surfaces and unproductive evaporation as a result of aeration of soil during tillage operations.
On the low lands of Makuna, the natural vegetation is sparse in which two normal seasons can pass with virtually no adequate rainfall. Insufficient rainfall remains the major problem to farmers in the area. This poor farming methods as practiced by the local farmers have accelerated the loss of soil moisture through reduced ability of the soil to capture, drain and store rain water. Soils in East Africa are generally fertile. Majority African farmers Tanzania inclusive, depend on the natural weather which is mainly unpredictable. Local farmers are typically engaged in small scale production of mainly food crops as opposed to cash crops. Subsistence farming is rampant in Makuna which leaves less or no surplus for sell and provide household income to the native local people therein.
Makuna is an area with fertile soil located in Sadala village 2km away from Arusha road. It is at an altitude of about 1100m—1200 above sea level with a conducive environment that has a view on Mt Kilimanjaro peaks directly partially especially in the morning and evening hours. The area is covered by crops and vegetables during rainfall season but in summer it is difficult to do a cultivation due to lack of water for irrigation. The main crops grown in Makuna include maize, beans, fruits and vegetables like onions, tomatoes, etc. in places where irrigation is done, it is on a small scale and most especially on small farms of mainly tomatoes and cabbages.
On one side of Makuna village, there an agriculture stream flowing from the base rocks and it is preserved by authorities where irrigation is being done on a domestic scale rather than large and commercial. With vast space for expansion in the area, it is not well utilized by the local people due to the perception that the soils are not productive in terms of agriculture. With a good number of able-bodied people especially youths who normally migrate to urban areas for green pastures. These transfer labor to urban places leaving Makuna with less to utilize the available land to expectation and full potential. With water tables not being between 30m to 40m, it is expedient that the water wells can resolve the water scarcity problem in the area for they will provide water for irrigation on farms as well as domestic use.