Innovations in Agriculture in Tanzania

Agriculture in Tanzania
Over the past several decades, the United Republic of Tanzania, founded in 1964 following full independence from the United Kingdom, has undergone various economic reforms and agreements to seek international aid in order to improve opportunity and reduce widespread poverty. The East African nation, which remains substantially diverse and faces uneven poverty rates across disparate regions, promulgated a new constitution in 1992 and has since sought to enhance social and economic opportunity following decades of marginal gains. As a component of these reforms and initiatives, agriculture has assumed a prominent role in the development of strategies to reduce poverty and increase food security. Agriculture, which employs about 40% of the nation’s workforce, is largely composed of cereal plants, such as millet and barley as well as cash crops such as coffee plants. Here is more information about agriculture in Tanzania.

Farming in Tanzania

Tanzania’s farms, largely composed of individually operated small and medium-sized farms and smallholders, are a resource to the Tanzanian economy through export and domestic food security

However, though agriculture has become progressively more important to the economy, productivity has not substantially increased. As a result, the country has experienced an increase in the amount of land used and uneven mechanization, such as the use of tractors, to increase productivity. Through the first 20 years of independence, challenges in establishing essential services such as supplies delivery, resources and market regulations kept productivity and revenue from farming low. 

Reforms in Agriculture in Tanzania

Beginning in the 1980s, various reforms reversed the decline in agriculture, though the sector still proved unable to improve the overall poverty and food security situation. Over the past decade, the Tanzanian Government has developed a series of new strategies to overcome this relative stagnation. The new approach places agriculture, farming and the local sale of food at the core of the poverty reduction strategy. This strategy also provides state funding for investment in new farming practices, the development of essential infrastructure and education. This entrepreneurship approach has recently assumed a larger role in successful strategies in sub-Saharan Africa to counter strife in access to food and limited economic opportunity. 

Agriculture investments that improve prospects as a means of advancing food security and socioeconomic opportunity for disadvantaged populations have attracted international attention, with various multinational organizations engaging in such initiatives as efforts to expand upon initial success. 

The United Nations Initiative to Help Women Farmers

Beginning in 2022, the United Nations began a joint initiative targeting women farmers to improve education in water management, crop storage and enhancing resilience to extreme weather conditions. Only 8% of women, who face historic social and economic disadvantages and prejudice, own land independently and represent among the most vulnerable demographics in rural Tanzania. The scheme has proven effective with those who participated, with income often doubling for those participating, thereabouts 300 female farmers. 

Global EverGreening

Similarly, Global EverGreening, an international coalition of aid organizations overseen by Oxfam and several other aid organizations, will provide technical assistance and job opportunities to farmers in several East African nations, including Tanzania, in order to revitalize land depleted by inefficient land management. These plans will also emphasize enhancing opportunities for women in agriculture. 

The World Bank is also investing in improving resilience and resources for East Africa, with substantial investments taking place in Tanzania. As part of an array of financial aid, the World Bank pledged support for programs aimed at improving farming productivity by investing in improved infrastructure to ensure the delivery of seeds and locally-grown food to local markets and providing fiscal guidance and aid to allow reinvestment.

Such expanding programs aim to permit farmers in Tanzania to invest in resources and agricultural technologies that work to ensure more consistent food supplies. Additional investments in novel ways of developing means of supplying domestic markets, such as cooperative markets, are also intended to reduce local deprivation.

Looking Ahead

In brief, while agriculture has taken on increasing importance in the United Republic of Tanzania’s work against continued poverty and food insecurity, other structural challenges, such as limited resources for female farmers, mixed infrastructure and inefficient farming practices remain hurdles. 

The cohesive approach of recent aid programs and the Tanzanian Government’s interest in improving agriculture in Tanzania offers an expanding entrepreneurial approach that may offer a means to both correct longstanding barriers to those most in need of opportunity and improve food security in unstable times. Efforts involve facilitating investments in novel farming techniques, such as new technologies to detect water levels and supply chains for rural food delivery.

– Cormac Sullivan
Photo: Flickr