The government plans to dispatch agricultural experts to African countries implementing the monitoring of food and agricultural policies (MAFAP) project so as to learn best practices and improve policies and farmers’ income.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the MAFAP country report dissemination launch on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operative Eng Christopher Chiza, Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Hawa Ghasia said that there was a need to improve data collection, processing and analytical skills of human resources.
She said that MAFAP project is implemented when Tanzania is implementing several policies, strategies, programmes, initiatives and projects geared towards improving the livelihoods of the majority of Tanzanians through increasing agricultural productivity and farm gate prices.
“These programmes, initiatives and projects need intensive local and international monitoring and evaluation like MAFAP to make sure that the policy implementation is coherent with the intended policy objectives of improving the livelihoods of our farmers and whole of Tanzanian populace,” she said.
She added: “As this project implemented in other several African countries, this kind of peer review will result in synergy that will show the position of Tanzania in relation to other African countries as related to the impact of policies to the farm incomes and the quality of living in general.”
She pointed out that the government will continue providing support to the MAFAP project through training and allows its staff to participate in crucial researches and will also use the findings from MAFAP project for policy formulation aimed at increasing the farm incomes.
“I sincerely appreciate the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for being the main sponsor of the project, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for providing the methodological guidance to the project as well as technical support from Economic and Social Research Foundation for the success of the project,” she said.
She noted that MAFAP was also established to assess the allocation of public resources to the agricultural sector and rural development as declared by the heads of States and governments of the African Union (AU) in Maputo in 2013.
They also to adopt sound policies for agricultural and rural development and commit themselves to allocating at least 10 percent of their national budgets resources within five years.
“On the public expenditures, Tanzania is still lagging behind the Maputo declaration by being at 7 percent budgetary allocation, however, compared to 2003 where the allocation was at 3.1 percent, the allocation of 7 percent is a reasonable achievement to Tanzania.”
She insisted that as a way of making sure Tanzanians did not suffer from hunger and farmers are getting fair prices for their produces, the government has continued to manage the warehouse receipt system and the National Food Reserve System (NFRS) to protect the consumer through food security and price stabilisation.
For his part, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) Executive Director Dr Hoseana Lunogelo said that the MAFAP project was conducted in an in-depth analysis of price incentives and disincentives faced by farmers and consumers on nine agricultural commodities and a detailed analysis of the composition and level of public expenditure in support of the agriculture sector.
He added: “MAFAP is implemented in ten African countries by FAO in collaboration with the OECD and local partners with the financial participation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and USAID.”
“MAFAP supports decision-makers at national, regional and pan-African levels by systematically monitoring and analyzing food and agricultural policies in African countries,” he noted.
He insisted: “This particular occasion provide a forum to stakeholders to exchange views and experiences based on results of the finding documented in the report.”
“Participants will have an opportunity to discuss the report recommendations with a focus on improving the Tanzania’s Food and Agricultural policies,” he said.