Agriculture and extension services forms one of the core activities of TSHTDA that deals with improving smallholders’ tea production and productivity through the use of new improved planting materials for expansion of new farms, block infill and Good Agricultural Practices. Through this, TSHTDA focus on the following:
(a) To support farmers on raising new improved planting materials
• Supporting farmers groups to establish and manage tea nurseries for raising Vegetative Propagated plants by providing them with nursery materials (Mainly industrial materials such as polythene tubes and sheets, money maker pump, wheel barrows etc).
• Transporting nursery materials to the nursery site.
• Providing expertise on nursery practices (establishment and management).
• Encouraging group members to contribute their labour, site for nurseries establishment and other materials that can be sourced within the nursery vicinity for them to feel the sense of ownership.
(b) The Agency is Involved in provision of expertise on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), i.e Infilling, expansion and other tea farm management practices as follows;
• TSHTDA provide agronomic expertise to tea smallholder farmers on tea field establishment and management in new areas, (Ludewa, Tarime and Kilolo).
• In the traditional tea growing areas, TSHTDA is involved in training on GAP in tea cultivation, i.e. field expansion, consolidation, and doing infilling in the existing farms.
(c) Establishment of mother bushes
• TSHTDA is involved in establishing tea mother bushes in all tea growing areas to be used as a source of supplying of clonal materials cuttings. Also, they are used as Farmer Field Schools (FFS) for demonstration of GAP to smallholders in the respective area
ii. Extension Services
TSHTDA provides Public Agricultural Extension Services (PAES) to tea smallholders farmers in collaboration with the Local Government Authority (LGA’s). TSHTDA extension services focus on the following major areas:
(a) Training of extension staff
This involves training of both TSHTDA and LGAs extension staff and collaborators; which involves in house training on Good Agriculture Practices and exchange visits
(b) Dissemination of new Technologies
• TSHTDA act as a bridge between the research institute and farmers, this involves the dissemination of technologies and transferring of technologies to tea smallholders growers such as the use of new clonal tea, recommendation of fertilizer and other inputs
• The Agency participates in “Nanenane” – National Agriculture Exhibitions, purposely to promote tea production.
(c) Advisory Services
• TSHTDA provides advice in all matters pertaining tea managements and Good Agriculture Practices
• The use of collaborators – the Agency uses experienced farmers in tea production (collaborators) to mitigate the problem of extension services.