FAO, govt launch programme to empower forest, farm producers

26Oct 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
FAO, govt launch programme to empower forest, farm producers

THE Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Tanzania yesterday launched the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) Phase II partnership to empower forest and farm producers to improve their livelihoods to cope with climate change and build a resilient future. 

Launched in Morogoro Region, the partnership focuses on strengthening the forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) – representing smallholders, rural women’s groups, local communities and indigenous peoples’ institutions as key agents of change. 

FFF Phase II specifically intends to contribute to the achievement of at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); particularly, SDGs 1, 2, 5, 13 and 15 on livelihoods, food security, gender equality, climate change and life on land.

The National Network of Farmers’ Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA) and the Tanzania Tree Growers Association Union (TTGAU) are the FFPOs that will lead the launched FFF Phase II in three prioritized landscapes of Njombe, Kilosa, Kilombero valley (in Morogoro region) and the Katavi, Rukwa, Tabora, and Songwe landscape.

“Collectively, forest and farm producer organizations have the transformative potential to achieve sustainable development and respond to climate change at landscape scales. Collective action requires strong producer organizations,” says Charles Tulahi, FAO Tanzania Assistant Country Representative (Programmes).

He observes: “FFPOs represent a vast, neglected and unrecognized component of the private sector. These organizations have mandates to help millions of small holders diversify local economies, increase resilience and reduce poverty – while restoring and managing landscapes that adapt to and mitigate climate change.”

“We will provide support to build the capacities of the forest and farm producer organizations in Tanzania for strategic climate action, support recovery from Covid and ensure sustainable outcomes and build local level resilience” says Jhony Zapata, FFF forestry officer and coach for Tanzania.

He adds: “With support the producer organizations can innovate, incubate experimental and innovative approaches, adapt, learn from mistakes and build partnerships for implementation of actions onthe ground.”

The launching workshop brought together nearly 50 people, including representatives of the relevant sectoral public services, representatives of key FFPOs, representatives of development partners engaged in the resilience of  landscapes in the face of climate change and the improvement of livelihoods, as well as representatives from MVIWATA and TTGAU.

Building on actions and results FAO is working to support the forestry sector in Tanzania through various initiatives, including: the review of the forestry policy and legislation; supporting implementationof sustainable forest management practices; addressing social protection for the forestry dependent communities; as well as livelihood support for the FFPOs.

The FFPOs support in Tanzania originates from the second FFPOs – Africa Regional Conference that was hosted by Tanzania in September 2018. Among other conference outcomes was the need to strengthen FFPOs capacity to support increased production and tangible results on the ground. It is from this background that the FFF – a multi-donor programme housed at FAO Headquarters – called forExpression of Interest (EIs) submissions from FFPOs.

The overall objective was to select the best EIs on climate resilient landscapes and improved livelihoods.A joint EI submission by the National Network of Farmers’ Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA) and the Tanzania Tree Growers Association Union (TTGAU) was finally selected for the FFF support. The FFPOs will be financially and technically supported during the programme implementation phase.

The programme amounting to US$918,000 will support the selected groups to address climate resilience and improved livelihoods over a 2-year period. Forest & Bee-Keeping Division (FBD) from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) will play an oversight role.