APOPO joins Agricultural Celebrations in Tanzania

The first week of August is all about agriculture in Tanzania.

From August 1st, agricultural fairs are organized in seven zones in Tanzania, culminating in the national holiday NaneNane on August 8th. The week was officially opened by the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan and closed by the country’s Prime Minister, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa.

APOPO participated in two agricultural fairs this year, alongside partner Sokoine University of Agriculture, both in Morogoro and the main national  fair in Simiyu Region, north of the country near Lake Victoria. The week celebrated important contributions from farmers to the Tanzanian economy and showcases new technologies, ideas, discoveries and alternative solutions that will help to improve the agricultural sector. Companies, NGOs, farmers, regional and local officials as well as the general public are drawn to see the latest developments and opportunities. The HeroRATs always attract a lot of attention and shine a spotlight on the lifesaving work APOPO does.

In Tanzania, rats are generally considered a destructive pest, ruining crops and getting into food stores. In fact, most farmers will usually trying to get rid of them when found on their land.It’s always good to have the opportunity to show people that rats are intelligent creatures that are very capable of saving lives. The exhibition allowed APOPO to inform local communities about the rats, but also the issues they are helping to solve such as the fight to end tuberculosis (TB) and breaking the stigma that is associated with the disease. Highlights were a visit from the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Japhet Hasunga and also the Acting Regional Medical Officer of Simiyu Dr. Maeka who expressed great interest in our TB detection research.

"People were really impressed with what our HeroRATs can do with their incredible sense of smell," says Bahati Abuu, one of the trainers that traveled to Simiyu. 

Overall, NaneNane was a great success and the fair was very well visited in both locations. The APOPO and Sokoine University Team in Simiyu even walked away with runner up Trophy award for Best Exhibitor in the Higher Learning Institution category.