The government in collaboration with partners has initiated a plan to restructure cotton industry by introducing contract farming between ginners and farmers in the country.
The programme which is expected to benefit over 400,000 farmers countrywide is implemented by Tanzania Gatsby Trust (TGT) and financed by a UK based organisation Gatsby Foundation in collaboration with the local private sector and international development consultants.
A statement issued by the Trust said given the challenge to reform presented by local vested interests in the sector the work include support for policy analysis, education of stakeholders and facilitation of public private dialogue.
In parallel to this regulatory reform initiative, the programme seeks to support the long term sustainable management of the sector through capacity building to the key state institutions, including Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) and is facilitating the sector in the wide use of improved cotton seeds, and helping cotton farmers to adopt tillage conservation agriculture, the statement said.
So far the Gatsby Charitable Foundation UK has committed approximately euro 6m over four years to the programme and has secured euro 7m over four years in match funding from DFID to support the current scale up phase.
The programme is managed by small management team placed within TCB, split between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza.
In a move to support TCB’s policy reform initiative, the statement said more effectively the programme intends to recruit communication specialist who will refine the strategic communication plan of the programme.
The objective of the plan will be to manage the political risk associated with the programme and TCB policy reform work.
“We would expect the plan to be heavily data–driven in order to make sure that clear and transparent messages are conveyed about the positive impact of reform on farmer welfare and sustainability of the cotton industry,” the statement added.
The statement noted that financial management and administrative support are provided by TGT which is funded by Gatsby Foundation of the UK. Key implementing partners beside TCB include local government, private sector and international development consultancies.
In September 2007, following discussion with the Tanzanian government, the foundation initiated a major long term programme supporting the transformation of the Tanzanian cotton and textile sectors.