The target area of MAYAWA is Bukoba, Missenyi and Muleba districts in North-Western Tanzania, at the shores of Lake Victorian. The three districts makes part of Kagera region and is subdivided into seven zones (Bukoba, Kiziba, Katerero, Kasharu, Kyaka, Rubale and Muleba). The climate is characterized by a bimodal rainfall distribution with a dry season from June till September and two rainy seasons (heavy rains from March to May and light rains from October to December). The average annual rainfall ranges from 1,800-2,000 mm. moving away from Lake Victoria to the West, rainfall declines (1,000-1,500 mm) and becomes less predictable. The soil in the region is laterised red earth with medium to high fertility. The agro-ecosystem is dominated by small subsistence farms and is characterized by a combination of banana/coffee gardens, small fields with annual food crops (beans, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, sorghum) and extensive grasslands.
Other factors which threaten the food security in the region are the declining soil fertility, the problems in the cultivation of bananas and cassava and the widespread prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The fertility of the soil is deteriorating significantly. Especially the declining productivity of banana plots form cause for concern, not only in Bukoba District but also in the other districts of Kagera region (Biharamulo, Karagwe, Muleba and Ngara). In many areas of the region, surface erosion disrupts the agro-ecosystem, a process which is accelerated by overgrazing, massive lumbering of woods and burning of dry pasture land. The problems of low coffee prices, scarce and low-fertile land force the smallholders to combine farming with other activities, to switch from farming to fishing or to migrate to the less populated western areas of the region in search for new arable land. Furthermore, local varieties of bananas and cassava have become more susceptible to disease (e.g. panama disease and mosaic) and less able to survive insect attacks such as banana weevil.
MAYAWA plays a key-role in this development programme. The focus of its activities is to enhance the technical skills and organizational capacities of the smallholders in Kagera and improve their access to the (inter)national market.
MAYAWA is to improve the cash income, food security and sustainable environmental solutions for the rural households in Kagera region.