Naishozi is in the highlands of Kagera Province to the west of Lake Victoria, closer to Uganda or Rwanda than to the Tanzanian main city, Dar Es Salaam, far away on the eastern coast. Although close to the Equator, because of the elevation, the temperature is more gentle and can even be chilly at night.
Here is an award-winning short film about life in Nyaishozi.
The area cared for by Action in Africa contains some 45,000 people living in 4 main villages
Hilly and with a light shale soil, the area relies on regular rains as it is difficult to retain water. The rains normally come twice a year with two months without rainfall in between. In recent years the rains have “failed” because of changes in global weather patterns. This has meant that crops have failed, bringing hunger to the people. The new crops introduced by AiA have struggled to cope with the poor rains.
Every household grows bananas around their houses with beans intercropped. This makes the standard diet and anything left over can be taken to market.
The one cash crop is coffee but prices are determined by world markets that have seen gluts and the collapse of the price to local farmers. The presence of Fairtrade buyers has helped to support prices.
Unfortunately the banana trees provide the perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed and spread malaria.
Xanthomas Wilt, a viral infection attacking banana trees and destroying the crop, has spread into Kagera from surrounding Uganda and Rwanda. This presents a major threat to the staple diet of the population, risking economic disaster as well as hunger and malnutrition.
Here is a short film about Banana Wilt