Trends and outlook report on key agriculture and rural development indicators in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania is implementing an Agricultural Sector Development Programme. Its objective is to increase productivity, profitability and farm incomes by improving farmers’ use of and access to agricultural knowledge, technologies, marketing systems and infrastructure. The share of agricultural sector to GDP and export has declined in the past 10 years. An assessment of the linkages between agricultural investment, growth, and poverty and hunger reduction in the past decade reveals that there is an apparent disconnect between the observed growth and poverty and food security outcomes in Tanzania. Read more here.
USAID, ReSAKSS and ILRI

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Transforming Africa’s agriculture with a pump

One way that can help Africa break out of its dependence on subsistence farming is through a simple water pump. In Tanzania, the agricultural sector accounts for nearly 80 percent of employment and 75 percent of rural household income, yet only 26.5 percent of GDP. Land for farming is readily available. However, effective tools for small-scale irrigation are not. The pumps enable small landholder farmers to switch from low value to high value crops and become less dependent on rain. Read more here.
Jonathan Kalan

Tanzania sets $30m for agriculture

Tanzanian Government has set aside over US$ 30m this financial year for rehabilitation and improvement of agricultural infrastructure in the country, it has been revealed. According to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, the money will be used for rehabilitation and maintenance of agricultural infrastructure and capacity building in various forms to agricultural research institutions. The Minister also adduced that the agricultural infrastructure improvement scheme is a response to the increasing number of farmers in Tanzania. The number of farmers has kept increasing by 6% annually in Tanzania, a country with over 70% of its 40 plus million people depending upon agriculture for their survival. Read more here.
Francis Semwaza

Ethiopia: Are “land grab” deals a path to food security?

The push by multinational corporations and foreign governments in recent years to obtain fertile land in African countries such as Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania has spurred debate over whether the move will lead to development or is simply a “land grab” that further threatens the continent’s food security. In Ethiopia, farmland is being bought or leased on an immense scale. The country has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007. Meanwhile, Ethiopia, with over 85 million people, remains one of the hungriest countries in the world. Some 2.8 million people are currently in need of food aid. But the government is convinced that mechanised agriculture is important to reach development goals. Up to now, little is understood about the impact of these land deals. Read more here.

Dar rice project to raise production fourfold

Tanzania plans to boost its rice production fourfold over the next decade to 3.6 million metric tonnes up from 900,000 tonnes. The project dubbed Improving Rice Profitability through Increased Productivity and Better Marketing, will see the country save more money on imports. The project will focus on seed development, paddy production and processing. The project targets four districts and will be carried out through a partnership of farmers, National Network of Small-Scale Farmers Groups (MVIWATA) and Dodoma based Rural Livelihood Development Company (RLDC). Here, the main challenge will be lack of appropriate knowledge in best farming practices, crop marketing and identification of related risks. Read more here.
John Mbalamwezi

The return of ‘Afro-optimism’

For the first time since the seventies experts agree on Africa’s promising growth prospects and potential to become a major investment frontier – though risks still abound. Here are some of key factors to watch in 2011. The continent has grown at an average of five percent per year since 2000. Demonstrating an unexpected macroeconomic solidity, most countries were relatively unharmed by the 2007-2008 global financial meltdown. Indeed the continent is estimated to grow at an average of 5.5 percent in 2011. Growth estimates for the next five years show that seven out of ten fastest growing world economies will be from Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania. Read more here.

Government set to establish agriculture data collection system

In this new year, the government of Tanzania will open up a web-based database which will electronise data delivery systems in agriculture from the village to the national level. The database termed Local Government Monitoring Database (LGMD2) will enable district officers to enter data into the system in the form of integrated data format, instantly making it available at regional level upon synchronisation, for approval and later at national level. Stakeholders said there had been criticism on the lack of data, leading to a failure to know exactly how much agricultural output there is country-wide and its actual contribution to the economy. Read more here.