GCRF-AFRICAP project benefits Lushoto, Muheza small-scale farmers

16Jun 2020
Daniel Semberya
Tanga
The Guardian
GCRF-AFRICAP project benefits Lushoto, Muheza small-scale farmers

​​​​​​​The ministry of Agriculture, Food security and Cooperatives has taken lead to develop Agriculture Climate Resilience Plan (ACRP) so as to implement strategic interventions for adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts.

The agriculture climate resilience plan is implemented through Agricultural Sector Development Programme phase II (ASDP II) which has been developed to propel the country’s economic development and guide the implementation of prioritised interventions.

Last week in Tanga the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) and its partners in GCRF-AFRICAP project organised a one-day GCRF-AFRICAP Sub-National Policy Workshop on Agriculture and Food System Resilience.

The Co-Facilitator of the Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) research team, who is also a researcher from the ESRF, Abel Songole said that the objective of the sub-national policy workshop was to share and discuss the progress/status of GCRF-AFRICAP research activities on agri-food system resilience being conducted in Tanga Region and at the national level.

It also discussed sub-national capacity for translating evidence into planning, policy and pathways of change and explore ways forward to build knowledge capacities and infrastructures required to achieve productive, sustainable and resilient agriculture food systems.

“Through research and capacity building activities AFRICAP supports implementation of the existing national policies and plans and informs the development of new ones.”

According to him, GCRF-AFRICAP project was among the significant milestones in developing Agriculture sector in Tanzania.

Songole described GCRF-AFRICAP as a four year (2018-2021) regional project implemented in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

“In Tanzania, this project is coordinated by the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) as a node hosting institution of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and implemented in collaboration with researchers from University of Leeds, University of Aberdeen, the UK Met Office, and Chatham House.”

He further noted that, the project has built on existing partnerships with National Meteorological Services, Agricultural Research Centres and Universities in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

The visual workshop involved participants from the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG), Tanga Region Secretariat, Muheza and Lushoto District Councils. Those who participated visually were from FANRPAN from South Africa, and University of Leeds (UK).

Others were from Tanzania Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (TCSAA), The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Media, TARI (Mlingano and Seriani).

GCRF-AFRICAP was designed in four (4) themes namely: Farming systems; climate-smart development pathways; policy design and implementation; and training and capacity building.

For ease of implementation, the project was divided into a number of work packages to including: Evidence based policy analysis; climate smart agriculture innovation transition and livelihoods; household vulnerability, food security and nutrition.

And also, quality of livestock feed and milk rates; agro-ecological monitoring and modelling ecosystem; climate smart agriculture and soil health.

In Tanzania the project is implemented in Tanga agro-climatic region (East Usambara-Muheza, West Usambara-Lushoto, Coastal low lands-Pangani, and between East and West Usambara-Korogwe).

Since inception of the GCRF-AFRICAP project, several research activities have been undertaken at sub-national and national level.

Such activities consist of: Evaluating the impact of climate smart agriculture-farmer field schools (CSA-FFS) on crop and livestock production, soil and plant health, and maize post-harvest loss and mycotoxin contamination in Tanga Region; implementing climate compatible development.

Climate-resilient agricultural and food system development and climate smart food systems (CSFS) policy evaluation in Tanzania.

The chairperson of the Tanzania Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (TCSAA), Shakwaanande Natai said that despite significant investments in the two districts, yet knowledge and application of national policies, strategies and plans on climate smart agriculture (CSA) at local level by extension officers was still limited except for Lushoto district.

Many farmers have low knowledge and skills required for sustainable agribusiness development. And most farmers also have limited knowledge of monitoring and evaluation, areas that are critical to developing resilient food systems.

She therefore, suggested that there was a need to consider how to scale up information sharing to other districts where there are no CSA activities, that is outside Muheza and Lushoto Districts.

Natai further noted that there is a challenge in using the lessons obtained from the Agricultural and Food Systems’ Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) initiative to support the dissemination, capacity building and awareness creation of the national CSA policies, strategies, plans and guidelines and inform future policy conversations in Tanzania.

Limited adoption of introduced technologies by other farmers due to reluctance to learn expensive and hard to do activities like terraces.

There was a request to conduct a socio-economic and scientific research in Lushoto District on farmers’ willingness to cultivate spices, supportive soil and climate characteristics.

Use of lead farmers approach to increase awareness of improved technologies, innovations, and management practices to their fellow farmers in their respective communities.

She further suggested establishment of climate smart agriculture (CSA) Learning Alliances that would bring stakeholders together to learn and discuss climate change, agriculture and food systems, as well as engaging youth in future research and agricultural development programmes, saying that they were potential solutions at the district levels.

“Existence of CSA learning alliance in Lushoto enables knowledge sharing across districts. Another CSA Learning Alliance need to be established in Muheza District,” she urged.

She also called on the local government authorities to be involved in remedying the situation to enable farmers to benefit fully from the richness of opportunities in their districts.

According to Nyamuyengi Maregesi from IITA, Tanzania, the project has attained many achievements.

He mentioned the achievements reached as: mapping, networking and sharing of lessons amongst key CSA stakeholders in the districts. And better coordination, cooperation and collaboration in activities amongst stakeholders.

Others are increased awareness creation on CSA to alliance members and the community including farmers and local government authorities (LGAs).

For her part, a representative of the Tanga Regional Agricultural Officer, Happiness Kihedu said that in order to combat the challenge of food insecurity due to climate change, it was the policy of the region that along with other crops each household must have two acres of cassava.

Tanga Region is located in North East part of Tanzania and it comprises of eight districts.

The region is divided into three Agricultural zones which are Coastal belt, Wet and Dry plains and Mountain belt.

The rainfall pattern in the region is bimodal. Most of the rains fall during the long rainy season from March to May while a second season is from October to December.

The second season used to have dependable rainfall but in the last decade these short rains have become increasingly unreliable and vary significantly across the region.

The climate of the region support cultivation of different crops. Main food crops produced are maize, cassava, paddy and beans. Main cash crop produced are sisal, cashew, coconut, tea and fruits.

Top Stories