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Equitable Payments for Watershed Services (EPWS) Project in Tanzania

Submitted by Michael Rastall 8th November 2012 14:38


Equitable Payments for Wateshed Services (EPWS) is part of a broader concept of Payments for Environmental/Ecosystem Services (PES) with the underlying principle of which the beneficiaries (which are recognised as buyers) of environmental/ecosystem services should compensate those who provide or play a role to guarantee continuous flow of such services (who are recognised as sellers of the services). The EPWS program in Tanzania which is implemented jointly by CARE International and WWF Country Office stands to ensure a sustainable flow of watershed services to beneficiaries into the future via a mechanism that promotes articulation of conservation practices in catchment areas which in turn alleviate poverty to land managers. Indeed, Equitable Payments for Watershed Services (EPWS) project is being implemented for:

• Establishing long term Financial Investment (FI) in modifying land use to conserve and improve “watersheds” for reliable flow and quality of water.

• Establishing payments or financial incentive mechanism that recognizes the needs and priorities of the marginalized and poor people to improve their quality of life consequently contributing to poverty reduction

Stakeholders/partners and roles

1. The Wami Ruvu Basin Water Office who provided technical support on hydrological monitoring 
The Uluguru Nature Reserve (UNR) Office Conducted trainings on tree planting, agroforestry and reforestation techniques, nursery establishment and management.

2. The Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) through Uluguru Mountains Agricultural Development Project (UMADEP) Provided technical support (training and supervision) on excavation of “fanya juu” and bench terraces and indoor livestock keeping

3. Land Use planning and management Morogoro Office (MoAFC) who provided technical support on application of fanya juu and bench terraces and collaborated with programme to display its progress during Nane-Nane Exhibition.

4. Morogoro District Council especially Local government authorities such as Kibungo Juu Ward, as well as Village Councils of Kibungo, Lanzi, Dimilo, Nyingwa and Lukenge for awareness creation, mobilisation/sensitizations & supervising implementation of programme interventions.

5. DAWASCO and Coca Cola Kwanza Ltd (buyers) who contracted with village governments for rewarding/compensating farmers according to the agreed and signed Memorandum of Understanding..

Key Challenges and Outputs

• High investments costs in implementing SWC practices e.g. farm inputs, working tools and labour demanding

• The EPWS programme failed to involve more than a quarter of the poorest of the poor in project implementation due to the fact that poor people are land less and are aged with less labour power to implement recommended conservation techniques.

• Low participation of youth.

• The program failed to ensure consistence of farmers’ payment/rewards for the services they have been offering as per the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

• Also the program was unsuccessful in influencing more buyers to join the EPWS mechanism due to inadequate institutional framework.

• People need to understand and be ready to apply a PES financial scheme. It also has limited number of experts who can help create awareness and understanding.

• Increased land cover by planting over 300,000 timber tree species. Total land planted with trees in form of agroforestry and reforestation is about 370.11 ha.

• Reduction of bush fire incidences by 85% as farmers are currently using mulching techniques and others.

• Run-off and soil erosion is being controlled through excavation of terraces, grass strip and contour farming. About 63.45 ha has already been converted into terraces.

• Improving soil fertility and soil moisture content through the use of appropriate agronomic practices which subsequently increased crop production per unit area of excavated structures.

• Improvement of water quality as a result of implementation of sustainable land use change interventions.

• Improved crop production by 3 times through implementation of recommended conservation techniques. This has created high motivation for farmers in applying SWC measure techniques 

• Improved food security at the household level. 

• By linking farmers with profitable markets household incomes have improved and access to social services such as health, education and housing have been possible.

• Involvement of women in project initiatives ensured changes in the community, something that was not observed in the past due to their cultural foundations. This is because of the fact that the project strengthened their capacities including building their confidences in taking leadership responsibilities. 

• Project experience revealed that working for poor is very challenging and it needs extra strategies to enable the poor participate and benefit from such initiatives. This is because most of the poor people are having land ≤ 0.5 or landless, aged (≥65 years) with less labour power to implement recommended conservation techniques which are labour demanding.

• The implementation of SWC techniques in the Ulugurus has influenced other players to scale up the practices within Morogoro and outside; for example Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania which is operating in Morogoro municipality on the Uluguru mountains.

Main field methodological approaches

The project implements selected practices to maximize off- farm benefit in terms of reduced watercourse turbidity based on sustainable land interventions including terraces (fanya juu and bench terraces), afforestation and reforestation, contour farming, grass strip and riparian zone restoration or sugar cane strips or tree planting in riparian areas. Other practices include a combination of conservation measures such as agroforestry and forest restoration, agronomic practices which involve the use of cover crops (e.g. beans and groundnuts) to increase soil nitrogen content and the practice of residue management to improve overall soil fertility or together with promoting indoor livestock keeping (e.g.goats) for availability of animal manure for crop production in excavated structures and linking farmers with profitable markets.

The main methods or strategies which are being used in accomplishing the above interventions include:

• Facilitation of training to establish skills on all interventions as mentioned above through various ways including study tours and/or exchange visits which enabled farmers to realise the benefits accrued from conservation activities

• Formation and use of farmers groups enable implementation of all conservation measures including training to farmers and work together by supporting each other

• Use of demonstration plots to enhance practical skills on all selected conservation measures such as tree planting as well as agroforestry and reforestation, excavation of terraces and proper agronomic practices for soil erosion control and crop production

• Mobilising para-professionals at community level to establish extension service local capacity

• Support farmers with equipments, materials and inputs to farmers implementing soil and water conservation (SWC) practices

• Collaboration with key stakeholders/partners to enable knowledge and experience sharing as well as leveraging expertise or resources in bringing significant results