Lindi region is situated in the South East highlands of Tanzania, bordering Morogoro and Ruvuma regions in the West, Pwani region in the North, Mtwara region in the South and the Indian Ocean in the East. The total area of Lindi region is 58,936 km², which is roughly the size of Ireland. About a quarter of this area, 18,000 km², is part of the Selous Game Reserve.
The climate in the region is unimodal, with precipitation ranging from an average of 150 mm in December, January, February, March, April, to an average of 20 mm for the rest of the year. The average temperature meanders between a minimum of 19 °C to a maximum of 30 °C throughout the year.
Regarding the topography, Lindi region has an average altitude of 475 m above sea level with high peaks rising to up to 3000 m. The soils in Lindi are dominated by deep sandstones, classified as Cambic Arenosols in the West of the region. The East, on the contrary, is much more diverse with regards to soil clusters, and includes e.g. Ferric Luvisols, Eutric Gleysols and Chromic Cambisols.
Corresponding with this, Lindi region can be clustered in four main agro-ecological zones:
- coastal low land areas (0 m–120 m),
- medium coastal lowland (120 m-750 m),
- central plains (750 m-850 m) and
- upland (850 m +).
Agricultural production in the region is mainly rain fed with the major cash crops grown being cashews, sesame, groundnuts and sunflower. Food crops, which are essential in the prevailing self-sufficient farming system, include especially cassava and sorghum, but also maize, pigeon peas and cow peas.
According to the official Tanzanian “Population and Housing Census 2012”, the total population of Lindi region was about 865,000, divided in six districts (Kilwa, Lindi DC, Lindi MC, Nachingwea, Liwale and Ruangwa) with more than 80% of the population living in rural areas.
Lindi region has one of the lowest population densities in Tanzania, 12 inhabitants per km². Households are engaged in subsistence farming or small-scale agriculture to generate income and a substantial portion of the food consumed in the household. The region suffers from a high level of food insecurity and is known to be one of the most food insecure regions in Tanzania.
Vegi-Leg operates in two study villages: The village of Mitumbati in the Nachingwea district and the village of Mibure in the Ruangwa district. According to the official population count, Mitumbati houses 4850 people while Mibure houses 3080 people. Both of the selected districts, Ruangwa and Nachingwea, differ due to cash flows in agriculture and the presence of minerals as important raw materials for mining activities. The Ruangwa district is more involved in these activities than the Nachingwea district.