While the agricultural sector in Tanzania is expanding, more than 40 percent of the population lives in areas where erratic rainfall causes recurring food shortages. To increase food security in the country, the Tanzania Staples Value Chain (NAFAKA) project is improving the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in the maize and rice value chains while expanding the benefits from this growth to women, youth and other vulnerable groups. The five-year project (2011-2015) is implemented by ACDI/VOCA and its Support for Food Security Activities (SFSA) team (including IFDC) and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative. FTF seeks to harmonize regional hunger- and poverty-fighting efforts in countries with chronic food insecurity and insufficient production of staple crops.
IFDC is working with agro-input suppliers, producers and financial institutions to strengthen the availability of quality agro-inputs and to demonstrate their proper use at the farm level. Other IFDC activities include: strengthening the maize and rice seed supply; promoting technologies to increase crop yields and their nutritional value; conducting training of trainer programs on Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM); introducing and expanding market information systems, which bring increased transparency to agro-input and crop marketing; and assisting the Tanzanian government and other stakeholders in creating an enabling policy environment for agro-input use.
“Increasing the quantity and availability of key staple crops in countries like Tanzania is at the heart of fighting hunger and malnutrition in East Africa,” says Lee Rosner of ACDI/VOCA. “By working with farmers, especially women, in the maize and rice value chains, we expect to build farmers’ incomes and improve rural families’ access to diverse and nutritional foods.”
Tanzania has experienced strong growth in its agricultural sector over the past decade, but the benefits have not been widely distributed. With 80 percent of the labor force employed in agriculture, the sector has the potential to drive economic growth and reduce poverty.
The NAFAKA project team is working with rural communities and the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture to analyze the local maize and rice value chains and develop a strategy to strengthen them. It uses a multifaceted approach to: improve productivity through a strong program of public and private extension services; increase incomes of vulnerable farmers, including women and young people, by building robust marketing groups to increase their capacity to generate assets, capital, skills and knowledge; improve competitiveness and trade by encouraging greater trade investments and facilitating win-win demonstration initiatives; and increase investment and innovation through a $2 million grant fund to buy down the risk of value chain actors to adopt new technologies and practices.
The interventions will focus on the geographic region of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor, primarily in the Kilombero and Mvomero districts in Morogoro. The program will conduct activities in the Kiteto district in Manyara, Kongwa district in Dodoma and Zanzibar.