The beneficiaries involve groups of more than 20 members in 11 regions including Mbeya, Arusha, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.
Speaking at the annual stakeholders’ meeting sponsored by USADF, the Country Programme Coordinator-Tanzania, Gilliard Nkini said on Friday under the arrangement, availability of seeds and improvement of irrigation infrastructure had been possible.
“USADF acknowledges the contribution of smallholder farmers as the backbone of African economies. They contribute more than half to the country’s GDP comprising nearly 70 per cent of its labor force,” Nkini said.
Managing a portfolio of 11 projects in Tanzania, USADF is an effective tool that works with the most vulnerable in African communities, awarding small grant of $250,000 for technical assistance and capacity building to grassroots organizations, cooperatives and community enterprises that strengthen local institution and achieve lasting impact.
But Prof. Andrew Temu, an Agricultural Economist from Sokoine University of Agriculture said agriculture was yet to be given priority in the country despite employing between 75 and 80 per cent of the labour force.
He decried the government’s failure in allocating a budget of 10 per cent as per Maputo declaration, apparently leaving the sector hovering at the mercy of 7 per cent budget level.
He said the under-finance has prompted the country into irrigating only 43,000 acres last year as opposed to 1milllion-acre target.
Managing Director of a company that consults the beneficiaries of the grant Diligent Consulting Limited (DCL), Sosthenes Sambua said his organization would continue providing support to agricultural communities as a part of implementing Tanzania’s Sera policy.
Sera policy project provides analysis of the policies that govern Tanzania’s agricultural sector.
He said SERA policy’s objectives included building a group of public sector institutions, advocacy organizations and individuals capable of performing rigorous analysis in support of evidence-based advocacy and policy reform.
It is implemented by the government of Tanzania in collaboration with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Africa Development Bank (AFDB).