Selection of Mara region as a pilot area in Tanzania for UPSCALE project implementation was basically based on four important criteria:

  1. Existence of different Agro ecologies in the proposed site: According to De Puaw, (1984), agro-ecology of the area shows aspects of environment that may constitute a significant resources or constraints to agriculture productivity. Basically it constitute: Soil types, total annual rainfall and pattern ( Mono vs Bimodal), length of growing season and altitude.
  2. Biotic and abiotic constrains for maize production in the region. Factors affecting maize production in the sites such as Striga weed, Stem borer, Fall armyworm, inadequate rainfall and low soil fertility were among the major factors considered during site selection.
  3. Existing Push-Pull fields in the selected sites and farmers to implement the technology: Mara region had experience on Push-Pull technology for more than fifteen years. It has been implemented extensively by farmers in Bunda, Butiama, Musoma, Tarime and Rorya districts. At the start of UPSCALE project there were more than 250 fields in Mara region. Considering the importance of the technology the number of fields are increasing and other farmers are expanding the size of their Push-Pull fields. The technology has now extended to Primary and Secondary schools, Non Governmental Organizations and Community Based Organizations.
  4. Presence of stakeholders/farmers practising mixed farming of maize and Push pull companion plants: A good number of stakeholders/farmers in the Mara region which were growing maize, Napier/Brachiaria grass and desmodium plants for improvement of food security and livelihood of small holder farmers who are encountered by food and animal feed deficit during the season and off-season. Such organizations includes Heifer International-Tanzania, Project Concern International, Mogabiri Farm Extension Centre, Africa Inland Church Tanzania and Mara Agri-Link Tanzania Limited.

Other information about Mara region include:

i) Population increase According to the 2002 Population and Housing Census, there were 1.37million inhabitants in Mara region where as in 2012 the population increased up to 1.74 million, this was 27% population increase. This indicates that the increase of population density can result to food deficit if there will be no strategic measures for increasing food crop production in the region.

ii) Crop Production Mara region has sufficient land for crop production, land available to smallholders is 487,543 ha. The regional average land area utilized for agriculture per household was only 1.9 ha. Therefore, land can be used for crop intensification including PPT, cereal, vegetables and legumes integration.


The sites were selected by the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) team in collaboration with Agricultural extension agents and policy makers in Mara region. Primary and secondary information of the area were also used during site selection.

Based on the information collected and different agro ecologies existing in Mara region three main sites were selected for project implementation: Northern zone (Northern part of Tarime district, Southern part of Tarime district and Rorya district), Central zone/Intermediate (Musoma and Butiama districts) and Lowland zone (Bunda district).

For detailed information, download PDF.

Soils in Tanzania

Tanzania has a total area of 945,000 km2. Inland lakes have a total coverage of 59,000 km2 (6% of total area) and the remaining land covers 886,000 km2 (94% of total area). Despite of the complex climatic and topographic setting, the country has sufficient land to allow substantial growth in agricultural production including Push-Pull intensification. However, land degradation in form of physical loss of soil through erosion and decline in soil fertility through continuous cropping without replenishment by organic manure and mineral fertilizers are the major setbacks to agricultural production in Tanzania. Any attempts to improve and expand agriculture in Tanzania should invest in betterment of soil fertility improvement and crop husbandry practices including resilient soil and crop improvement options such as Push-Pull technology.

Recent developments in Tanzania emphasise the adoption of more holistic, participatory and community based approaches for enhancing sustainable economic growth. Reliable land resources information is one of the major requirements for implementing this approach. Therefore deliberate measures were made to ensure availability of reliable land resources information at national, regional and district levels.

Major Soils and their potential for agriculture in Tanzania

Tanzania adopted the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) as the system for soil nomenclature and correlation.

According to the WRB, Tanzania has 19 dominant soil groups. The structure, concepts and definitions of the WRB are strongly influenced by (the philosophy behind and experience gained with) the FAO-UNESCO Soil Classification System. The dominant soil groups are presented in Table 1, download the PDF here for more information.


Fertility Excellent

Fertility Excellent (if slope > 2%)

Fertility Good

Fertility Marginal

Fertility Poor

Fertility N/A