Irish govt releases 2.6bn to support smallholder farmers

14Sep 2018
Henry Mwangonde
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Irish govt releases 2.6bn to support smallholder farmers

THE Irish government yesterday released Euros 1 million (2.6bn) in grant to support smallholder farmers address value chain challenges in a project that will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Irish ambassador to Tanzania Paul Sherlock.

The funding is part of the Irish Aid towards WFP’s humanitarian and development activities, including support to a feasibility study and potential pilot for smallholder farmers on the sorghum commodity value chain in Dodoma.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Irish ambassador to Tanzania Paul Sherlock said his government has been supporting WFP’s crucial work in providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to Burundian and Congolese refugees in Kigoma and went on to broaden its support to fund a pilot project to develop the sorghum value chain in the Dodoma Region.

“Our focus now is beyond refugees, this time we are extending our support to increasing farm productivity, marketing opportunities and training on post-harvest loss reduction,” said the envoy.

According to him Ireland’s approach emphasizes the importance of coordinated public and private investments in the sector to increase production, add value locally and to create employment.

“Investment by private sector actors is pivotal to the transformation of Tanzania’s agricultural sector as these actors supply farm inputs, provide business services and engage in the trading and processing of agriculture products,” he added.

The project is expected to impact approximately 6000 farmers.

In his remarks, WFP country representative Michael Dunford said the agency is supporting small scale farmers in addressing value chain challenges including financial whereby they do not access and at times get them at a higher rate.

“WFP works to finding the best and right markets by adopting a whole range of practices and share with farmers on how best to overcome value chain challenges.

On declining funding on refugees support, Dunford said there has been a decrease in funding this time saying Irish movement support was a wakeup call to other partners to join the race.

WFP announced earlier this year that it was working with authorities to integrate Tanzania into the universal methodology for measuring food security so as to ease international response whenever there is food shortage.

During the 2015-16 financial year, WFP commissioned a comprehensive zero hunger strategic review on food security and nutrition in Tanzania, based on the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2-Zero hunger.

The findings highlighted a role for WFP in national systems strengthening and in fostering a more integrated, systematic approach to national food security.

In 2016, WFP Tanzania began developing a new Country Strategic Plan (CSP) to replace and update the previous country programme and protracted recovery and relief operation. It will be from July 2017 to June 2021.

The CSP design has been informed by a comprehensive analysis conducted with a broad range of stakeholders to identify the country-specific needs and priorities to eliminate hunger and malnutrition.