Agriculture is the mainstay of the Tanzanian economy. It accounts for about half of the national income, three quarters of merchandise exports and is source of food and provides employment opportunities to about 80% of Tanzanians. Profitable agriculture depends largely on healthy soils, good seeds and existence of remunerative output markets. Soil health research findings from the different zones are mainly shared among researchers and development partners from the respective zones but are rarely shared with scientists in the other zones. National forums which bring together researchers working on the same theme to share and discuss findings and recommendations from their zonal work are few and uncoordinated. Furthermore, there is no common communication and coordination mechanism for the NARS scientists, the international agricultural research centers and other local and international soil health research stakeholders. This lack of one-stop shop for information on ISFM results in wasteful duplication of efforts. Furthermore, the research findings are not packaged in user-friendly forms to be utilized by farmers, extension and policy makers, exacerbating the problem of poor uptake and impacting negatively on the livelihoods of the farmers.
The Tanzania Soil Health Consortium (TASCHO) was initiated in 2013 through a grant from AGRA with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) as the main grantee and TASCHO as a sub-grantee to compile, share and scale up ISFM technologies released by different zones, institutions and other partners in order to improve food security and income among small-scale resource-poor farmers in Tanzania. To achieve this, the coordination team has put together taskforces on; research, extension, policy, monitoring and evaluation and fundraising from experts drawn from NARS, universities, extension, international agricultural research/development organizations and private sector.
TASHCO is expected to: