Farmers in the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania are fighting a losing battle against increasingly degraded land. Repeated plantings are quickly depleting the nutrients in the soil, leaving it nearly barren and vulnerable to erosion. Meanwhile, downstream, the water is dark with sediment, unfit for drinking and expensive to treat.
“Downstream, people are complaining about the quality of water,” says Lopa Dosteus, program manager for CARE International’s Equitable Payment for Watershed Management (EPWM) program. “And upstream, the farmers are struggling to grow enough food while their soil washes away.”
In response to the growing concerns voiced by those living both up and downstream, CARE International, an organization fighting poverty and hunger around the world, is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED), to improve farming practices and create financial incentives to take better care of the soil.
“The objective,” says Lopa, “is to see if we can help farmers manage natural resources while, at the same time, increase their income.”