About David Mtui:
David is a native Tanzanian, born at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, of the Chagga tribe, Tanzania, East Afrika. He holds a Master's degree in ‘Animal Husbandry’ from famed Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. He operates Nature’s Gifts’ ecologically-oriented countryside guest lodge, Mrefu (“M-r-ef-oo”) Lodge named for his father Mrefu Mtui, on his home property just north of the small town of Marangu. It is situated east of Arusha at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Lodge also operates as accommodations for many of his safari company guests.
With his degree in Animal Husbandry, David returned to his land. On the six acres he’d inherited from his father, he started teaching small-scale sustainable farming to neighbouring people several year ago. The covid pandemic slowed things up in the last couple of years but he has stayed with it.
David grows organic crops such as avocado, coffee, bananas, corn, beans, passion and other fruits, yams as well as large native trees all using environmentally-sound methods. He also has a demonstration plot for best practices in small-scale farming in the Arusha Maasai land. Naturally concerned about Climate Change, Mtui sees that cooking is done on bio-gas produced at the Lodge and eco-farm while a significant solar energy installation project is in development to run the entire facility with sun power.
The idea of the Mrefu eco-farm is to show by example how a small-scale farm is supposed to work and work well. He initially demonstrated the practices to his friend, a neighboring farmer with two acres of bare land. First, they planted a natural fence encircling the land to prevent neighboring farmers from entering his property with their animals. They also planted wood-producing trees to surround the farm.
Next, they divided the land into small sections and made a small paddock. In each section, they planted what a normal farmer needs for his family: corn, beans, yams, fruits, cassava, sweet potatoes, peas, grasses, fodder and legumes as well as pasture sections. The idea is for a farm family to be able to get all their needs from a small parcel of land - human’s food, animal food and pasturage, firewood, shade, fencing and trees for woods.
The typical farming system in developing countries is to plant corn and beans in a bare field with no trees. After they harvest, they let their animals into the fields to graze the post-harvest straw and stubble. If the farmer has already planted the farm for new crops, the animals will graze the boundaries near the roads and cause severe road destruction. The animals also walk on the land, turning the soil to powder. This subjects the earth to wind and soil erosion, degrading it and creating big gullies as it is unprotected bare land.
Mtui has long-range plans for the Mrefu eco-farm, combining it with a lodge for students and guests of his safari company. Education, conservation and the thrill of exploration of nature’s gift of Tanzania are all here in one place.
There are several routes one can hike on Kilimanjaro - Marangu route, Machame route, Rongai route, Umbwe route, Londorosi route and Lemosho route.