The Guardian's "Kilimo Kwanza" (Agriculture First), a bimonthly supplement on agriculture and rural development. The supplement is published in English and Swahili. April 20, 2010
Tuesday 20 April, 2010 email@example.com The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA 2 Tuesday 20 April, 2010 The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA Tuesday 20 April, 2010 POLICY EDITORIAL And Tanzania’s main business is… inside And Tanzania’s main business is… Policy makers did not have a difficult time identifying that business that has the surest potential to redeem Tanzania’s future; the obvious candidate is Agriculture. By Guardian Reporter 3 The time to change Tanzania through agriculture is now Time to coordinate all assistance for Kilimo Kwanza E ver since we launched this publication, which is wholly devoted to the Kilimo Kwanza initiative, we have featured in every issue a pledge by a development partner to assist the country in its effort to realise a green revolution. This time there is a pledge by another underdeveloped albeit richer country, The Sudan, to assist Tanzania in developing its irrigation potential. Offers to give Kilimo Kwanza a push forward have been made by developed countries, multilateral donors and African states like Egypt and Sudan. And these are just the ones that have been communicated to this publication. More must have been communicated to government and yet many more at a smaller scale to specific recipient communities by Non Governmental Organisations. While gestures of goodwill by Tanzania’s friends are indeed welcome and the offers need to be followed up vigorously, there is a need to coordinate all aid being offered for Kilimo Kwanza for a number of very important reasons. First and foremost, Kilimo Kwanza is one hundred percent Tanzania’s idea, and its framers know best what is needed for it to succeed. We welcome all advice of a technical nature, but we are best placed to know what we need for the success of this initiative. Secondly, lack of coordination can lead to duplication, and as a poor country Tanzania cannot afford that. Even the richest countries plan carefully in order to avoid wastage. In fact, that is one of the reasons they are rich – optimal utilisation of resources. Moreover, even in the aid business, dumping must be avoided at all costs. It may not come to the classic case when the former Soviet Union donated snow ploughs to a certain small, hot, African state that was its ideological ally. But gifts of equipment for example must be suitable for our physical and climatic conditions, not to forget durability and serviceability. Clearly therefore, someone in government or TNBC must keep a bird’s eye view on all offers of assistance for Kilimo Kwanza, not only to follow them up but also equally important, the confirm their relevance. Tanzanians should not be shy to tell a well meaning donor if their offer is inappropriate either because the country already hopes to access its equivalent from another donor or can provide for it itself. After all, donor support should be for supplementing but not replacing local efforts and initiatives. Even though it is said that beggars are not choosers, Kilimo Kwanza is not a begging exercise, and its owners, the people of Tanzania, are in position to state exactly what they need. Our kind development partners can then see to what extent they can assist us towards the realization of our goal. It is not an accident that many outsiders want to take part in the development of Tanzania’s agriculture – and they are welcome to do so. It is because at this particular time, the demand for agricultural products is high internationally, and Tanzania is well placed to play an important role, big time. The country has the land, the fresh water, the coastline, seven international borders and affordable labour. These advantages are there to be exploited, and Tanzanians should be the coordinators of the process. Wallace Mauggo Editor 3 Food security is an urgent challenge which will worsen with the current trends of population, adverse impacts of climate change, growing demand for biofuels, changing demands... Tanzania will next month host the World Economic Forum, whose main theme will be about rethinking Africa’s development strategy. Being on a continent that has generally been left behind by the rest of the world, Tanzania itself has had to come to a decision over what its main business must be if it is to break away from century-long history of colonial dom- ination and ineffective growth strategies. P olicy makers did not have a difficult time identifying that business that has the surest potential to redeem Tanzania’s future; the obvious candidate is Agriculture. Operating under the new dispensation of public/ private sector partnership, The Tanzania National Business Council designed the Kilimo Kwanza strategy towards a green revolution for the country. The global economic climate now requires aid – dependent developing countries to set their objectives and means of attaining them clearly. TNBC has once again come out to articulate why the defining moment for Tanzania has come; why more than at any other time in History, Kilimo Kwanza has to be embraced. A seven-page statement issued by TNBC’s Executive Secretary Dunstan Mrutu describes the critical situation Tanzania found itself in as far as food security and making a real economic take off is concerned, gives the background to the formulation of Kilimo Kwanza and shows how the country can get out of the untenable stagnation towards real growth. Describing Kilimo Kwanza as a holistic set of policy instruments and strategic undertakings towards a Tanzanian Green Revolution, the TNBC chief explains how Kilimo Kwanza aims to bring to an end the abject and dehumanizing poverty in the country; modernization and commercialization of agriculture; industrial development based on backward and forward linkages of agriculture; and overall competitiveness. The statement also gives some worrying data, like the fact that Tanzania’s annual demand for improved seeds is about 120,000 tons while average annual supply for the last four years has been 10,000 tons; the negligible use of fertilizer - Tanzania uses average of 9kg of fertilizer per hectare of arable land while Malawi uses 27kg, South Africa 53kg and average utilization in SADC is 16 kg, 103 kg for India; 279 kg for China and 365 kg for Vietnam. On water resources, Tanzania has countless opportunities for irrigation systems, but is only able to irrigate 1% of its potential irrigable land of 29.4 million hectares. On the state of mechanisation, the country seems to be in reverse gear as the TNBC statement puts Tanzania’s stock of tractors in the seventies at an estimated 17,000 tractors while present statistics put the number at 8,000, 85% of which are more than 10 years old. 70% of the farmers still use hand hoe, 20% use oxen plough and only 10% use tractors. Agricultural finance is also in a worrying state as TNBC observes: The Bank of Tanzania shows that loans to the Agricultural Sector amounted to only 10.4% of the total loans to the Private Sector currently available at about 20% interest rate most being short term for buying and selling and not for production. Finally, TNBC says an elaborate Road Map for implementing Kilimo Kwanza has been drawn up whereby the whole process of implementing Tanzanian’s Green Revolution is projected to be completed within ten years. “Tanzania has made a fundamental decision for the future of its agriculture, which will essentially determine the long term prospects of its socio-economic transformation,” Mr Mrutu concludes. TNBC full statement overleaf Mr Dunstan Mrutu 4 Responding to the needs of Tanzanian marginal farmers Significant challenges are still remaining underscoring that the rate of growth in agriculture falls short of the government’s own target of ten percent growth for 2008-2015 while food insecurity remains a problem for many people 6 Sudan offers cooperation in water management enormous agricultural and water potentials in the two countries are very important and essential common factors that can initiate common and joint projects as well as attract both national and foreign investors where possible Art & Design: KN Mayunga To have your organisation promoted in Kilimo Kwanza, Call: 0787 571308, 0655 571308 0754 571308 xxxxxx 8 The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA 4 Tuesday 20 April, 2010 The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA Tuesday 20 April, 2010 COVER STORY COVER STORY 5 The time to change Tanzania through agriculture is now While drafting the framework for Kilimo Kwanza in early 2008, a contemporary policy for mobilizing our country to brace the emerging economic climate, dimly did we foresee that a year later, Kilimo Kwanza, will be a global phenomenon relevant beyond Tanzania, writes Dunstan Mrutu, Executive Secretary of the Tanzania National Business Council. For us in Tanzania, agriculture is the economic lifeline, transformation of which will determine the country’s socioeconomic development considering that 80% of Tanzanians depend on agriculture for their livelihood, 34% of who are below poverty line, and that the country must achieve food self sufficiency for its continued stability and development. Currently agriculture contributes 95% of the food consumed in the country while the required level for food self sufficiency is 120%. Agriculture contributes 26.7% of the Country’s GDP; 30% of total exports; and 65% of raw materials for Tanzanian industries. Kilimo Kwanza focuses at measures to improve mechanization through local assembly of tractors and farm implements to meet the enormous requirement. Low investment and financial resources Kilimo Kwanza addresses the low level of investment in agriculture through government commitment to continue allocating budgetary resources to the sector from the low of 2.9% of national budget a few years ago to the present level of 10% in order to adequately fund agriculture and trigger the process of Tanzania’s agricultural transformation. Private sector involvement in agriculture has remained weak with very limited investment basically due to lack of long term finance at affordable interest rates. The Bank of Tanzania shows that loans to the Agricultural Sector amounted to only 10.4% of the total loans to the Private Sector currently available at about 20% interest rate most being short term for buying and selling and not for production. Doubtful whether commercial banks will, on their own, decide on competitive lending to agriculture, Kilimo Kwanza is advancing a case for legislating commercial bank lending to agriculture as it is in India. A Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank is under formation to address long term lending. Paradigm shift A fundamental cause of Tanzania’s unsuccessful effort in its agricultural transformation is that we persistently continue to produce what we do not consume and consume what we do not produce. This factor had led to the so-called “cash crops” and “non-cash crops” when in fact all crops can be sold in “cash”. For over 100 years, about 80% of the world populations in the SOUTH continue to produce primary goods for 20% of world population occupying the NORTH and whose population is declining while we continue to produce more sugar, more coffee, more tea, more cocoa, for them. The fundamental requirement of a nation producing what it consumes, and consuming what it produces, has been significantly demonstrated by current world economic crisis in terms of falling prices of the so-called traditional commodities: coffee price has fallen by 32%; leaf tea by 40% but recovered somehow to a fall of 19%; cotton by around 20%; sisal by 30%; etc. This demonstrates the economic vulnerability of relying on such crops. Kilimo Kwanza is advocating for paradigm shift towards new crops and focusing on domestic market, a shift from “agriculture supporting industry and countryside supporting city” to “industry re-feeding agriculture and city supporting countryside” as was the case for China and India’s agricultural transformation. What it takes to develop agriculture; financial services (above left), committed farmers (above) forward linkaged like the processing industries (below). W hat drove TNBC to Kilimo Kwanza was and still is the state of poverty amidst the rise in human population in many continents which has already outrun the growth in food supplies. It is disquieting to realize that while the rising population has also brought drastic changes in consumption patterns, we in Africa and Tanzania in particular are unduly dependent on outdated and harmful agricultural techniques that are devastating the environment irreversibly. Food security is an urgent challenge which will worsen with the current trends of population, adverse impacts of climate change, growing demand for bio-fuels, changing demands due to increased disposable incomes as experienced in sharp growth in demand for livestock products, skewed resource distribution between rich and poor and between rural and urban and last but most critical, increasing land and water scarcity. Cognizant of the truth that no country has achieved a significant measure of socioeconomic and structural transformation without first modernizing its agriculture and no country has significantly reduced the poverty of its population without achieving a high level of productivity in agriculture, Tanzania has launched Kilimo Kwanza as a pragmatic policy initiative for addressing development needs of the country. Kilimo Kwanza has received overwhelming acceptance by Tanzanians of all walks. Of course since independence, a range of policy instruments and programs were initiated and carried out in an effort to improve the country’s agriculture. These included: the Iringa Declaration of “Siasa ni Kilimo – politics is agriculture”; followed by “Kilimo cha Kufa na Kupona – life and death effort to improve agriculture”; The Arusha Declaration which had anchored largely in agricultural transformation,n; Vision 2025 which has already been in operation for over 10 years implemented through MKUKUTA (Poverty Reduction Program) and MKURABITA (Formalization of Informal Sector); the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP); all of which lay emphasis on agriculture transformation through irrigation and water management, livestock development and animal health, better land husbandry, crop production and protection, mechanization, storage and post-harvest, agro-processing, community empowerment, agricultural information, client-oriented research, animal and plant multiplication, market development and infrastructure, HIV, research, extension/advisory services, training and education, marketing and rural finance. In spite of all the efforts, Tanzania’s agriculture has not performed well. For the past 25 years, while the population more than doubled, there was a consistent decrease in the volume of production of most agricultural commodities. On the other hand, in more recent years, the sector has attracted a higher government budgetary allocation as well as increased private sector investment. The percentage of the national budget allocated to agriculture has increased from as low as 2.9 % in 2001/2002 to 6.4% in 2008/2009. As a result of the continuing increase in government budgetary allocation as well as ASDP and related agricultural programs, a positive trend has started to emerge What is Kilimo Kwanza and Why Now, you may ask. Kilimo Kwanza is a holistic set of policy instruments and strategic undertakings towards a Tanzanian Green Revolution which is a prerequisite of achieving Vision 2025 objectives. The revolution process in- volves considerable challenges to Tanzania, but it is being launched at an opportune time considering the current global changes favor- Dunstan Mrutu able to long term agricultural development which is underpinned by global rise in food demand and prices. Domestically, achieving food self-sufficiency is of compelling necessity due to the current global financial crisis which limits capacity for importation of food. Kilimo Kwanza aims to bring to an end the abject and dehumanizing poverty in the country; modernization and commercialization of agriculture; industrial development based on backward and forward linkages of agriculture; and overall competitiveness. A deeper review of the resource inputs Tanzania has applied in its agriculture explains the phenomenon of the country’s poor performance in agriculture some of which Kilimo Kwanza is now confronting decisively as follows:Improved Seeds Available data shows that the potential annual demand for improved seeds is about 120,000 tons while average annual supply for the last four years has been 10,000 tons. This gap is due to the fact that seeds producing companies which existed ceased to operate and those that were privatized were not able to perform as required. Kilimo Kwanza opens doors for new investors in improved seeds cognizant of the rising demand locally and exports potential to neighbouring countries. Increased quantities of fertilizer and agro-chemicals Importation and distribution of agricultural inputs in the country is beset with ca- pacity constraints leading to dismal agricultural input utilization by households in Tanzania. For example, currently Tanzania uses average of 9kg of fertilizer per hectare of arable land. Malawi uses 27kg, South Africa uses 53kg, average utilization in SADC is 16 kg, 103 kg for India; 279 kg for China; 365 kg for Vietnam. Kilimo Kwanza puts down-to-earth incentives for extensive use of inputs, local production of inputs, importation and distribution by the private sector and government support to peasant farmers. Irrigation and agricultural water resource management Tanzania is second to DRC in Africa for large volume of water resources. Flowing rivers of Kagera, Mara, Rufiji, Pangani, Ruvu, Wami, Ruaha and Ruvuma together with the largest lakes in Africa – Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa and Rukwa; numerous basins and plains; countless opportunities for irrigation systems, Tanzania is only able to irrigate 1% of its potential irrigable land of 29.4 million hectares. Irrigation makes significant contribution towards food security in Sudan and Egypt using waters originating partly from Tanzania. Kilimo Kwanza sees this as an opportunity for large scale investments in the irrigation infrastructure of Tanzania. Agricultural implements and machinery In the 1970’s, Tanzania had an estimated 17,000 tractors while present statistics put the number at 8,000, 85% of which are more than 10 years old. 70% of the farmers still use hand hoe, 20% use oxen plough and only 10% use tractors. Clearly Implementing Kilimo Kwanza An elaborate Road Map for implementing Kilimo Kwanza has been drawn up whereby the whole process of implementing Tanzanian’s Green Revolution is projected to be completed within ten years. Each of the items contained in the road map has been given a time frame of implementation with specific mention of the office of the Government which will be responsible for coordination and leadership in the implementation of the relevant activity. These include among others: enabling policy environment; availability of long term financing for agriculture at affordable terms and conditions; improved arrangements for provision of land to investors; enhanced level of private sector participation. Others comprise modernization and commercialization of agriculture from the peasant to the large scale farmer; the use of improved technology by farmers at all levels; availability of all the inputs necessary for increased productivity in agriculture; an extensive irrigation program; greater use of farm implements and machinery; improved infrastructure including storage facilities to reduce post harvest losses; effective market arrangements for producers; a comprehensive program of backward and forward linkages; human resources and effective institutional leadership. In conclusion, Tanzania has made a fundamental decision for the future of its agriculture, which will essentially determine the long term prospects of its socioeconomic transformation. The reality now is that the country must move away from producing what it does not consume, and consuming what it does not produce; and make a substantial investment in the agricultural sector to achieve such a transformation. Dunstan Mrutu TNBC Executive Secretary The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA 6 Tuesday 20 April, 2010 The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA Tuesday 20 April, 2010 PERSPECTIVE PERSPECTIVE 7 Produce markets like this one at Kibaigwa have enabled many farmers link to international buyers and to get better prices for their produce Remoteness and bad infrastructure keep prices of agricultural produce falling in some places and inputs like fertilizers almost hard to procure Responding to the needs of Tanzanian marginal farmers Improved food security therefore, be it from household production or purchased supplies, is reliant on agricultural growth performance,” the report says. The research undertaken by Concern Worldwide focused on four districts- Iringa Rural in Iringa region, Kilosa in Morogoro region, Lindi Rural in Lindi region and Mtwara Rural in Mtwara region. According to the 32-pare report the challenges facing poor farmers include: Land: Landholdings average between 0.2 and two hectares per household. Competition for fertile and irrigated land is intense, especially amongst extremely poor households including those headed by lone parents, orphans and elderly people. In Kilosa and Lindi districts, areas of potential arable land held by tittle-holders or traditional owners are under-utilized, adding to competition amongst poor farmers. The pressure on the land also leads to conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers. “ For example, in the area of Kilangali in Kilosa district, farmers complain that the tramping of land around rivers by Maasai and Sukuma heards has resulted in changes to the course of the river, increasing the frequency and severity of floods,” the report says. Gender: Women are probably the most marginalized of farmers. Men often control family resources, especially those from the major income earning activities. Single women who are heads of households are particularly vulnerable as they often have no one to help them in their farming activities. Single women also face discrimination in the allocation of irrigation rights and married women whose husband dies if often denied the chance to retain family livestock. Hand-hoe technology: In many areas there is no tradition of using animal power and the use of mechanical power like power tillers, tractors and accompanying equipment is restricted by limited availability and the inability of most farmers to afford the high cost of such equipment. Labour: In areas of Mtwara and Lindi, some young people routinely leave the villages to go to towns during the farming season, depleting labour resources. Labour constraints are particularly acute for unmarried and widowed women with children and families affected by HIV and AIDS, where older siblings and grandparents take care of the younger orphans. Livestock: Families with no livestock are relatively more marginalized as they are more exposed to livelihood shocks than those with livestock. Livestock are an important source of power for cultivation and transportation of goods to and from markets and are important means of generating additional family income to meet unexpected social and economic obligations. Remoteness and infrastructure: The absence or extremely poor state of feeder and access roads increases the cost of farm inputs and agricultural equipment while at the same time lowering prices of farm outputs. In the rainy season some roads become impassable. Following the collapse of old cooperative marketing structures, areas that are easily accessible have seen rising returns from farm produce as local markets attract traders and other buyers from near and far. By contrast, farmers in remote areas have seen demand for their produce fall, resulting in low prices. The few traders who travel to these areas dictate prices, knowing that eventually farmers will be obliged to sell at virtually whatever price offered. Farm inputs: The use of improved seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides is constrained by their limited availability and high cost. Distances to the nearest inputs suppliers range from between 25 kilometres and 56 kilometres in Lindi Rural District to between 25 kilometres and 70 kilometres in Mtwara Rural and Iringa Rural Districts. “These are prohibitive distances, especially considering the very poor state of rural feeder roads and lack of reliable means of transport. In addition, there is a general trend of raising prices of most farm inputs. In Mtwara and Kilosa for instance, over the past three years the price of a 50kilogramme bag of fertilizers has risen by 178 percent from 18,000/- to 50,000/-. Accessing credit: Access to credit is one of the most common ways of improving farmers’ access to inputs. Efforts to establish Savings and Credit Cooperatives Societies (SACCOS) have achieved limited success. The most impressive success has occurred in Mtwara Rural District where the number of registered SACCOS has increased from ten to 21 over the last three years. But most farmers are unable to access credit, which makes it difficult for them to purchase the inputs they need. Extension services: Most farmers have very limited access to extension advice. The farmer-extension officer ratio presently ranges from 10,000 -20,000: 1. Farmers in more remote areas are least likely to see an extension workers as most extension workers only have bicycles. In some cases because of lack of regular refresher courses, extension agents are not in a position to supply farmers with up to date advice on production and related techniques. “ The principal reason for delays in the release of funds for DADP implementation appears to be the govt’s failure to prepare and submit to the development partners the draft Annual Action Programme (AAP) “ A N estimated 3.6 million rural, largely marginal, farming households dominate agricultural production in Tanzania. Understanding the challenges that these households face is, therefore, key to reducing hunger and poverty. Concern Worldwide, an international organization dedicated to reducing suffering and working towards the elimination of extreme poverty has listened to poor farmers in four districts of the country and identified ways in which the government, development partners, civil society organizations and private sector could support them. Staff Writer LUCAS LUKUMBO reports on the recent case study by a team of consultants under the guidance of Concern Tanzania Governance Manager, Audax Rukonge… Starting with the good news, the team reports that there have been some notable success in Tanzanian agriculture over the last 15 years. During the 1990s, Tanzania’s agricultural production grew by 3.6 percent annually compared to 2.9 percent and 2.1 percent during the 1970s and 1980s respectively. Between 2000 and 2005 the growth rate increased to 4.8 percent reaching a peak of six percent in 2004. The report however notes significant challenges are still remaining underscoring that the rate of growth in agriculture falls short of the government’s own target of ten percent growth for 2008-2015 while food insecurity remains a problem for many people. “Crop failure that leaves a family unable to meet household food requirements from their own production also reduces income, which undermines the capacity of the family to access food from the market. In order to improve the district agricultural development plan process so that the voices of the marginal farmers could be heard, the report recommend that the government should strengthen the planning process by directly consulting with marginal farmers and ensuring that the results of those consultations are included in plans while also reducing delays in disbursements by simplifying the planning process. The government should also initiate a system of regular monitoring and review of implantation to ensure that plans stay ontrack and allow changes to be made while also developing a mechanism to ensure that consultation includes non-state actors. According to the report, there have been delays in the release of funds for DADP implementation both from central government to region and from region to district. In 2006/07 for example funds were disbursed by central government in November/December, which is a bout halfway through the financial year. The delayed funding often results in an inability to acquire inputs or pay for other essential services, including paying salaries and wages. The principal reason for delays in the release of funds for DADP implementation appears to be the government’s failure to prepare and submit to the development partners the draft Annual Action Programme (AAP), on the basis of which the partners request funding from their governments. Each of the DADPs in the district studied has invested in the acquisition, equipping and training of oxen and farmers in using oxen for cultivation. This technology is likely to be more appropriate to the scale of operation and within the financial reach, of the average marginal farmer than more expensive techniques, such as the use of tractors. “To increase the effectiveness of the current extension team, the DADPs are purchasing more motorcycles for extension staff to improve their mobility and ability to reach the maximum number of farmers. Addressing gaps in current plans, the government has been advised to ensure that all resources are utilized effectively to make maximum contribution to enhanced food security, poverty reduction and economic growth. This, according to the report, requires proper land use planning, resolving land use conflicts between crop and livestock farmers and between large, medium, small and marginal users among others. Civil Society Organizations should also support the development and implementation of DADPs by increasing the awareness of marginal farmers of their rights and responsibilioties and supporting their engagement in the DADP process. The private sector has a key role in ensuring that marginal farmers obtain the tools and inputs they need. In fulfilling this role, private sector organizations have nee advised to cooperate with government and other stakeholders in providing the special community services needed in ensuring that marginal farmers are assisted to grow out of poverty and become regular participants in the market place, Steps are also needed to improve the use of seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in order to raise agricultural productivity. This, the report says requires improvement of extension services, including ensuring extension workers go to remote areas and to expand the Farmer Field School Programme. It is suggested also that a system of properly targeted subsidies, along with measures to prevent the subsidized supplies from being accessed by those for whom they are not intended. There should also be investments in produce storage, enabling farmers to store farm produce during harvest season when prices are very low for sale later in the year when prices are better. Also steps should be in place to encourage private inputs dealers to open input supply outlets in all production centres. Concern Tanzania Governance Manager, Audax Rukonge Profile of small time agriculture • There are 1.3 billion smallholder farmers in the developing world. Most farm small areas of poor land and cannot grow enough food to feed the their families, let alone earn an income. Many are excluded- socially, economically and politically and have no say in policy decisions that affect them. In Tanzania, an estimated 3.6 million rural, largely marginal, farming households dominate agricultural production In recognition to the importance of agriculture, and with the aim of improving farm incomes and reducing rural poverty, the government developed an • Agriculture Sector Development Strategy. That strategy is operationalised through the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP). Six development partners support it through a multi-donor basket fundDanish International Development Agency, European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Irish Aid, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World bank. The ASDP is implemented through District Agricultural Development Plans. • The Guardian KILIMO KWANZA Sudanese Ambassador in Tanzania Abdiel Bagi Kabeir explains to the Guardian’s Angel Navuri what Sudan is considering to offer Tanzania to boost the management of the country’s soil and water resources: Q: What is the size of Sudan at assistance to agriculture sector in Tanzania? A: As you may know the economy in both Sudan and Tanzania depends a great deal on agriculture. It is only until the last decade when Sudan started exporting oil. In fact the enormous agricultural and water potentials in the two countries are very important and essential common factors that can initiate common and joint projects as well as attract both national and foreign investors where possible. Despite Sudan's steady economic growth within the last decade it is unfortunate that there hasn't been any direct assistance in the field of agriculture to Tanzania so far, but I can assure you of the genuine desire to do so whenever possible. Q: What form is the possible assistance likely to take? By Miki Tasseni A HECTIC week has just ended at the University of Dar es Salaam, where local scholars and visitors from outside, united by a common interest in the work and life of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, turned up for week long series of seminars. While the major focus was definitely political, ethical and ideological – that is, what good leadership is all about, what ethics ought to govern policy making, and Pan-African visions generally, a few salient issues were raised. One is how to definite agriculture policy for the peasants. The matter was approached in bits and pieces as it came up in different panels or topics of discussion, for instance in the overall presentation where Prof. Samin Amin espoused his concept of ‘the long road to socialism.’ In that sort of view, even if earlier socialist policies covering the agricultural sector failed or were besieged by many problems, that outlook was still the right one, as it assured peasants of ownership or control of their land. Later ‘neo-liberal’ policies compromise this side of peasant expectations, as they elevate economic use of land rather than uplifting the manner in which the peasants use the land. The debate about the utility or otherwise of current policies like Kilimo Kwanza hinged on what sentiments a contributor would have on the previous experience, that of Ujamaa villages. Few would suggest that it was a success, and Prof. Rene Dumont, one of the earliest global voices on environmental destruction, warned way back in ‘False Start in Africa’ that collectivizing peasants ruined the environment around them. Decimation of trees in large numbers followed not just spectacular urban growth but rural collectivism. An equally engaging contribution in that direction was the now classic study on Ecology Control and Economic Development in East African History, Norwegian researcher Helge Kjekshus demonstrated how abandoning some colonial efforts at protection of environment created problems for agriculture policy after independence. For political reasons for instance, the nationalist party TANU criticized the colonial administration for enforcing terraces in farming, saying it was an oppressive policy. After independence TANU tried to revive or extend the policy and it failed despite all its effort. While financial sector penetration is being urged everywhere as the means to ‘em- WHAT OTHERS SAY Sudan offers cooperation in water management A: Given the fact that Sudan and Tanzania are categorized as developing countries in every sense by the industrially “developed" world hence must wait and depend on assistance, I am of the opinion that that the word ‘assistance’ is not appropriate. Instead ‘cooperation’ sounds better. That is how we can lift each other up and eventually the entire continent. Because Africa is the haven which holds the solutions to the global food demand, Africa is the future. Not long ago Sudan was referred to as The Bread Basket of the World. Currently Sudan is one of the most favorable investment spots for the agricultural investors particularly from the Gulf countries due to the fertility, abundance of arable land and physical and political proximity, qualities Tanzania shares Sudan in most of them. Q: In what specific areas of agriculture where Sudanese cooperation can be expected? A: Regarding the most specific assistance relevant to agriculture that Sudan is considering offering Tanzania is the expertise and training in the field of irrigation and close cooperation in water management. As you are quite aware Sudan and Tanzania share along with other countries world's longest river, The Nile, a life line that could only be shared cooperatively and collectively to the benefit and well being of all. It is also worth taking note of the long, Q: Does Kilimo Kwanza in your view have a future? A: As experiences shows, many nations and countries went through hardship to create arable lands and dig rocks for water, some under tyrants and others without guides. But fortunately here you are today in Tanzania so opportune in this significant juncture of global strife for food security, to have President Jakaya Kikwete himself making sure the banner of Kilimo Kwanza raised and kept at the highest level and is determined to deliver. HIGH LEVEL SUPPORT: President Kikwete Sudan President Omar Al Bashir Vice President Salva Kiir outstanding and sound sugar industry in the Sudan, as well as the fields of horticulture and edible oil (Sesame, groundnut and Sunflower) and the subsequent by products. forward, bearing in mind that like in the majority of African countries, poverty and lack of development prevail in the rural areas where agriculture is the major source of sustenance. So such a focus on agricultural development could be the right answer. Such has been the case in my country, The Sudan, where a relatively similar initiative was recently launched, under the motto” Green Collectivity" aimed at making agricultural development the core of Sudan's current and future economy. I can tell quite confidently the rewards are high and certain. We saw how proper agriculture and horticulture made some of the smallest countries in the world among its biggest economies, if they did it we should do it even better. Q: Do you have any specific interest in Kilimo Kwanza? A: Indeed Kilimo Kwanza is the way Scholars differ on Kilimo Kwanza significance to growth, uplift of peasants power’ peasants acquire modern agricultural inputs and put away the hand hoe, development researchers are wondering on the ‘ethics of profiting from the poor.’ Bangladeshi banker and economist Mohammed Yunus obtained the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for systematic empowerment of millions of poor people in his country by a successful microfinance strategy based on peer pressure guarantees instead of collateral. But researchers are now questioning whether rates of interest charged, higher than usual banks, are also ethical. There is also plenty of microfinance penetration in the Tanzanian environment but not to compare with South Asia, where both the placing of collateral and effective peer pressure are higher than in subSaharan Africa. The story however of failure to pay most of the 21bn/- revolving microfinance funds called the ‘JK billions’ shows the limitations of such a strategy being taken up by the state, though this was the preferred design at an earlier period. The reason was that private sector-based microfinance operations are often rude. Recent data indicates that close to 60 per cent of the ‘JK billions’ had not been repaid as yet, well above the usual six-month period that microfinance loans are processed and repaid, or at best one year. Data from Bangladesh showed in the past decade that the usual repayment level was above 90 per cent, which isn’t perhaps explained from a ‘culture of payment’ as some marketing-oriented explanation at times suggests. It is easier to infer the reason from difficulties of market outlets for most goods produced in informal sector economy, Q: Do you think heavy mechanization best for Tanzania? A: Heavy mechanization certainly improves agricultural productivity but a lot depends on the physical conditions of the land to be cultivated as well as the irrigation technicalities. Heavy mechanization may require vast lands a situation which may lead to abandoning of small farmers to their farms or joining farms together. In any case it is my profound conviction that the concerned authorities are well aware of what is best for the nation at all levels Q: What advice do you have for the agriculture sector? A: Given Tanzania's potentials 'Land, Water Manpowerb and the geographically strategic location, one can confidently say agriculture is the answer. Of course the role of the state and the private sector are intertwined in order to bring about the maximum yield for all, the farmers, investors and the nation as whole. “ It became a bit difficult to say exactly what is ‘agriculture first,’ as it begets the query ‘whose’ agriculture Miki Taseni “ 8 Tuesday 20 April, 2010 as they add ‘more of the same’ to what may already have been saturated. Microfinance doesn’t push one to change places or live differently from earlier. Within the confines of the UDSM festival debates, it became a bit difficult to say exactly what is ‘agriculture first,’ as it begets the query ‘whose’ agriculture should be first, whether it is that of the peasant or the commercial farmer. The latter is coming up rather quickly as local firms start sourcing materials from within, like the beverage firm Tanzania Breweries Ltd lately putting up a promotional drive of ‘drink and beer and win a tractor,’ meant to bring people to cultivate the rye it needs for brewing. Cost cutting being the basic re- Q: Any specific areas in agriculture would like the government to focus on? A: If I may suggest anything it will be that the leadership in Tanzania at all levels should continue in the right path chosen bearing in mind that agricultural development is a long bumpy journey which requires besides the blessed stability, a committed leadership, a strong and durable basic infrastructure. quirement of competition, processing raw materials locally is helpful. Activists from the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) buoyed with events to the north of the country where women demonstrated against land seizures and resource control in different ways, questioned the rationale of Kilimo Kwanza. Economists on the other hand tended to go the other end of the matter and question whether the very idea that policy should target a peasant was a ‘farming’ policy, saying the peasants aren’t farmers. ‘The datum that 80% of the population is made up of farmers is simply wrong.’ In sum there remains substantial contention between the old vision of agriculture which sees the focus on peasants and making other economic initiatives work for the peasants, and the more modernist view. The vision of improving lives of the peasants sees the nation’s very identity in occupational terms, as made up of peasants and their defined residential areas and language systems as the nation itself. Mwalimu espoused that very idea in an essay in August 1967 after the Arusha Declaration, saying ‘the acceptance of the Arusha Declaration is an affirmation of the fact that we are Tanzanian, and wish to remain Tanzanian as we develop.’ His original goal of stopping land alienation and the formation of owning and laboring classes in the countryside was guiding his policies. Yet there is little substance to that kind of worrying, as refusing the rise of classes isn’t the same thing as refusing classlessness, as a number of Kenyan participants in the seminars were cautioning, that Tanzania should not follow Kenya’s path. Yet Kenya seems to have started having problems of food security the moment the old model is being put to question. If anything, economists will go further and assert that the real problem is that land as a whole isn’t privately owned, so there isn’t sufficient credit that goes to industry and even agriculture, as only urban land is freely exchanged. Rural land usually remains out of reach; inherited land can’t suffice for needs of another generation. Worse, socialists campaigning against land alienation and private ownership seem to be suggesting that it is bad for people to work on a farm for someone else, except if it is their own farm. This sort of argument has never made sense in economic terms, and indeed not only during the colonial period but later many people prefer employment on the land to tilling some dry patch on their own, as at least their wages are assured, periodically. But the phenomenon of seasonal labor tied to insecurity and even criminality is rather fearful.