Smallholder farmers want full agricultural budget on the ground

03Aug 2021
Gerald Kitabu
The Guardian
Smallholder farmers want full agricultural budget on the ground

AS this year’s agricultural season knocks on, preparation of agricultural input must start now, smallholder farmers in the country have called on the government saying it is also important to ensure the budget allocated for agriculture is implemented accordingly.

Smallholder farmers from different districts in the country and the Task force meeting in Dodoma recently. Photo by Correspondent Gerald Kitabu.

Speaking at a meeting between the farmers and the Biennial Report task force in Dodoma recently, the farmers said normally the amount of the budget allocated for agriculture does not trickle down as planned earlier.

Barton Mwidone from Makang’wa ward in Chamwino district in Dodoma said that experience shows that after the National Assembly had allocated the budget, some of the money ends up covering meetings and seminars, something that does not help intended farmers at the grassroots level.

He said that most farmers struggle to get agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and extension advisory services while they are already budgeted for.

“There are several villages where there are no single extension officer and even those with extension officers are usually not in the office because they don’t have working tools such as bicycles for transport services,” he said.

In some villages, extension officers have turned acting village executive officers, forgetting their main role of serving agriculture,” he added.

Tatu Rajabu from Ilongelo village, Singida rural district called on the government to ensure it takes extension officers for fresher courses, training and further studies to update their knowledge and skills.

“You find that you have only one extension officer but he doesn’t have knowledge of the outbreak of the new pests and diseases affecting crops, this makes it very difficult to educate farmers on how to arrest the pests and diseases,” she said.

Sophia Bhoke from Buigiri, Chamwino wanted the government to provide soil testing kits so that smallholder farmers can understand oil status and what crop should be grown in that particular area.

“Weather forecast services are very important. Farmers are growing crops blindly without knowledge of the weather forecast of that particular area,” she said.

Msisi ward councilor in Singida district Emmanuel Sima explained that sunflower farmers in Singida are struggling to get traditional sunflower seeds because the new record hybrid doesn't produce better edible oil due to lack of modern processing machines that can perform double refinery.

Commenting on the Biennial Report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration, Project Manager for scaling up public investment in agriculture which is under ActionAid Jorum Wimmo said that it is important that the government should work with smallholder farmers at the grassroots level so that the collected data can reflect the real situation on the ground.

He said it is necessary that the data and recommendations provided by the farmers be integrated into government policies, regulations and plans.

“Small holder farmers have many challenges, to address these challenges, the government need to directly convene meetings with them, listen, learn and integrate their needs into policies, plans and plans,” he said.

The 3rd Biennial Review (BR) Report is the powerful instrument for advocacy at the continental, regional and national level for triggering the necessary policy actions for agricultural transformation in Africa by 2025.

Throughout the process of BR process, members of the working groups including CSOs, and women farmers organizations conducting critical analysis to inputs the 3rd BR technical report.  Therefore, ActionAid conducted value addition biennial toolkit to equip non-state actors with knowledge, analytical skills, monitoring and tracking and engage in the implementation of the CAADP Malabo Declaration.

The government said the budget has taken into consideration many challenges facing smallholder farmers. CAADP focal person in Tanzania Dainess Mtei from the Ministry of Agriculture said big part of the agricultural budget has been directed to improve extension advisory services. 

She said all recommendations from the farmers and other stakeholders have been taken on board to enrich the Biennial Report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration.

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