UN,Tanzania in joint agriculture rebranding initiative

02Jul 2016
Aisia Rweyemamu
The Guardian
UN,Tanzania in joint agriculture rebranding initiative

TANZANIA and the United Nation (UN) have rebranded agriculture to encourage a new generation of Tanzanian farmers to seize the potential to create significant business opportunities.

Alvaro Rodriguez

It is believed that through mechanization and by adding value to agricultural products, ranging from fruits, vegetables and sunflowers, the majority of the public will be able to get out of poverty.

More than 3,000 young Tanzanians gained skills critical to successfully farming in the 21st century by learning plant nutrition, animal feed, crop rotation and land light to entrepreneurs among others.

The initiative is part of implementation of a single plan vision dubbed United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP) 2011-16 being implemented in the country.
The second UNDAP II 2016-21 initiative was launched last week in Dar es Salaam.

UNDAP has three main goals designed to support the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to Alvaro Rodriguez, Resident Coordinator of the UN System in the country.

He said UNDAP 2011-16 aims to reduce poverty dramatically in the country whereby more than one in four people still live below the poverty line, with 80 per cent of the population depending on substance farming.

Highlighting the achievements of the previous plan, he said young Tanzanians have gained the farming and entrepreneurial skills they need to maximize the country’s rich agricultural potential and minimize poverty.

“The importance of agriculture to the country’s economy cannot be overstated because it is the mainstay of the economy of the mainland, contributing an estimated 30 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing 80 per cent of the working population and accounting for almost two-thirds of exports,” he said.

The sector is similar in Zanzibar where it employs seven out of 10 people, contributing about a third of the Island’s GDP and accounting for three-quarters of its export earnings.

“But poverty remains a problem with a third of households on the mainland and more that four out of 10 households on Zanzibar living below the poverty line,” the report states.

He said youth can benefit a lot from the sector if they work as a group, in which case it would create opportunity for young farmers as part of the drive by UN and Tanzania to reduce widespread poverty and increase youth employment.

The support includes providing land skills capital for seeds and fertilizers as well as farm equipment.

He added that while tradition has given Tanzania a rich agricultural heritage, it also discouraged some young people from engaging in farming.

The report states that the tradition of cultivations land manually has left young people with the perception of farming as often unrewarding and back-breaking work. In Tanzania 70 per cent of farmland is still cultivated by hand.

As a result Tanzania and UN have rebranded agriculture to encourage a new generation of Tanzanian farmers to seize on agriculture’s potential to create significant business opportunities through mechanization and by adding value to products ranging from fruit and vegetables to sunflowers.

Once back in their communities, the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO)-trained young men and women on average went on themselves to train a further 20 people, a spillover effect of 1:2 on average.

Junior Farmer Field and Life School (JFFLS) run by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN young Tanzanian have gained the farming and entrepreneurship skills they need to minimize the country’s rich agricultural potential to minimize poverty.

Adam Athuman from the village of Mampando in Singida region was inspired to secure 300 acres of land from a regional commissioner for a group of 120 young men to grow sunflower commercially.

“Planning, patience and profit sharing was the heart of their business. With patience and good planning youth can benefit a lot if they work in a group,“ Adam explained.

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