Organisation: Katavi Women Development Organization (KAWODEO)  

Cycle: 2019 Tanzania

Type: Climate adaptation

Sector: Land use

Status: Shortlisted

Stage: Pilot ready

The Katavi region is one of the main tobacco producing regions in Tanzania. It is estimated that about 75% of farmers in this region, in the Western south Highland Zone, earn a living through tobacco. On many plantations tobacco is grown in monoculture plantations using production methods that rapidly exhaust the soil, causing quickly diminishing agricultural returns. As a result, many farmers are cutting down areas of forest in order to start new tobacco plantations. Due, in part, to these developments Katavi is losing 5 - 10% of its total forest area per year.

Tabacco farming involves clearing forested land by cutting trees and burning. Furthermore tobacco farming uses a surprisingly large amount of wood for curing tobacco leaves. It is estimated that an average of 1,262 hectares of forested land is being cleared every year for tobacco plantations. Thus, tobacco growing and curing are both direct causes of deforestation. Deforestation is a major cause of climate change, soil erosion, reduced soil fertility and disrupted water cycles. Typically, the land is quickly abandoned after just a few seasons and becomes unusable, often leading to desertification and disturbance of biodiversity and ecosystem in general.

Not only does burning of tree (wood) generate vast amounts of air, water and land pollutants but also large piece of land is cleared from carbon dioxide-absorbing forest cover. As a result, tobacco cultivation increases greenhouse gas levels leading to global warming.

Based on negative effects associated with tobacco farming to the environment; biodiversity and ecosystems and climate; this project aims to introduce Cashew nut tree farming which is favourable to biodiversity conservation and an alternative source of income for communities which depend on tobacco farming for their livelihood.

Introduction of Cashew nut tree plantation will contribute towards both climate adaption and mitigation as the cashew nut tree planted on cleared land will be used as a substitute or replacer of the lost natural forest cover and become an agent for absorbing carbon dioxide gas (CO2) hence reducing carbon emission, preventing soil erosion, improving water cycle, attracting rainfall formation and favouring biodiversity and ecosystem conservation while improving livelihood of the community through earning of income generated from cashew nut.