African farming systems should undergo transformation

04Aug 2020
Editor
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
African farming systems should undergo transformation

Agriculture remains the largest single contributor to the livelihoods of the 75 per cent of the world's poor who live in rural areas.

Agriculture remains the largest single contributor to the livelihoods of the 75 per cent of the world's poor who live in rural areas. Encouraging agricultural growth is therefore an important aspect of agricultural policy in the developing world. In addition, a recent Natural Resource Perspective paper by the Overseas Development Institute found that good infrastructure, education and effective information services in rural areas were necessary to improve the chances of making agriculture work for the poor.  

 Agricultural policy describes a set of laws relating to domestic agriculture and imports of foreign agricultural products. Governments usually implement agricultural policies with the goal of achieving a specific outcome in the domestic agricultural product markets.

Agricultural policies use predetermined goals, objectives and pathway set by an individual or government for the purpose of achieving a specified outcome, for the benefit of the individual(s), society and the nations’ economy at large. Agricultural policies take into consideration the primary, secondary and tertiary processes in agricultural production.  Outcomes can involve, for example, a guaranteed supply level, price stability, product quality, product selection, land use or employment.

Agriculture has large impacts on climate change, estimated to be contributing 20–25 per cent of global annual emissions as of 2010.  Moreover, agriculture is highly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, such as decreases in water access, geophysical processes such as ocean level rise and changing weather, and socioeconomic processes that effect farmer, many of whom are in subsistence economic conditions. In order for global climate change mitigation and adaptation to be effective a wide range of policies need to be implemented to reduce risk of negative climate change impacts on agriculture  and greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector.  

The Annual Agricultural Policy Conference (AAPC) kicked off  last month in Dodoma. Tanzania as key players in the agricultural sector met to tackle value chain specific policies to deepen the impact on food security, nutrition and job creation in Tanzania.

The three-day conference brought together over 250 participants from academia, research institutions, policy-makers, advocacy groups and development practitioners.

The chairman of the Policy Analysis Group (PAG),   Audax Rukonge explained that the AAPC is Tanzania’s high level policy dialogue that convenes key stakeholders from both the public and private sector, who come on board to present their research findings, success stories, progress made, share best practices and chart a transformative way forward for future reforms.

Agriculture in Tanzania is at a transformation point. Our economy is growing yet this has not always reflected in the lives of Tanzanians who mostly depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The sector holds the opportunity to create jobs, grow the economy and lift its people out of poverty if strategic investments are made into the sector.   Key stakeholders  delved  into six thematic areas with an aim of deriving solutions that will enable and drive the sector’s transformation.

The meeting was held under the theme of “Public and Private Sector Investment for Agricultural transformation in Tanzania: Tackling Agribusiness Drivers and Enablers in Crops, Livestock, Fisheries and Agro-processing.”

Speaking on the conference’s theme, Professor Isaac Minde, Senior Agricultural Policy Analyst said that the 6th AAPC will tackle value chain specific policies to deepen the impact on food security, nutrition and job creation in Tanzania in an expanding economy.

Key areas of discussions will revolve around drivers of growth which include macro and micro economic policies and enablers of sector growth with a key focus on: supporting infrastructure, finance and human resource.  The theme is aligned with the 5th phase government agenda of prioritising manufacturing and agro-processing to push the economy up the value chain in order to achieve middle-income status by 2025.

Some key development partners who were present at the conference  included government leaders, REPOA, World Bank, FAO and the UN Women. The 6th AAPC was sponsored by USAID, FAO, World Bank, TADB, UN Women, JICA, AGRA, ASPIRES, TAHA, Dalberg and FSDT.

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