The Role of Traditional Irrigation Systems in Poverty Alleviation in Semi Arid Areas : The Case of Chamazi in Lushoto District, Tanzania

"This study investigates the role of the Chamazi farming system in alleviating poverty in the semi-arid low lands of Lushoto district. It was conducted in seven villages between 6th March and 29th March 2002. The villages, which administratively are in the Umba division,included Kwemkwazu, Mbaramo, Lunguza, Mng’aro,Mkundi, Kivingo and Langoni. Chamazi is a vernacular word of the Sambaa people meaning “use of residual moisture in valley bottoms for mixed crop production”. It is practised by 90% of the population in the study area. Although practised at subsistence level, its contribution to food security was found to be superior to both the short and long rain seasons, and was able to produce four months’ food surplus in villages where the practice is dominant. In terms of cash income, the practice has the ability to generate an average of Tshs. 133,000 per cropping season/household. In order to improve the practice, this study recommends the construction of water reservoirs, provision of soft loans to farmers to enable them buy basic irrigation farming equipment and materials, and appointing agricultural extension officers with a strong background in irrigation to these villages."