Tanzania: Small scale farmers demand more space in policy makings






Small scale farmers in Tanzania demand more space in policy makings
Small scale farmers in Tanzania have called for their greater involvement when the Government is preparing policies regarding agriculture. The call was made during the Annual General Meeting of a network of small scale farmers’ group in Tanzania - MVIWATA.
As one of the five resolutions, smallholder farmers in Tanzania strongly castigated  the Government of Tanzania and called  to consult and involve MVIWATA in all major decisions regarding agriculture policies and strategies in the country.
It is not coming to our terms that the government has decided to partner with the private sector to launch the so called ‘’Kilimo Kwanza’’ Agriculture first strategy, without consulting the majority stakeholders in agriculture’’ lamented one of the farmer after a thrilling presentation by a renowned research in agriculture, Mr. Damian Gabagambi.
In his presentation titled ‘’Agriculture First: is it real or another empty talk? Mr. Gabagambi says, research has revealed that  a big chunk of national agriculture budget in Tanzania, is used to pay consultancies, and in purchasing car spare parts.
He added that “The government of Tanzania is yet to live to the Maputo Declaration of 2003 that called African states to allocate at least 10% of the budget to agriculture, but yet the 6-7 allocated to agriculture is mainly ending up on consultancy fees and spare parts purchase’’
Small scale farmers at the meeting said that the slogan “Agriculture First” lacks substance as the national budget for the year 2009/10 places agriculture far after other sectors in budget allocation. The sectors that got more funds include Education and Health.  
The small scale farmers’ annual general meeting was attended by more than 300 farmers from all over Tanzania. It was officially opened by Hon. Khalid Mohamed, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Tanzania Zanzibar. In his opening remarks the official guest said the Revolution Government of Zanzibar recognizes the noble course of MVIWATA and has granted  a building to be used as MVIWATA office in Zanzibar.
On his part the MVIWATA chairperson Mr. Yazidi Ame Makame said his organization adheres to the principles of transparency accountability, partnerships and good governance. He added that the AGM was a testimony that MVIWATA is run democratically by famers themselves.
 The theme of the MVIWATA AGM and workshop for the year 2009 was ‘’ The Effects of Big Investment on Land to small producers in Tanzania’’.
The meeting also had an opportunity to discuss about the strategic plan of MVIWATA for the period of 2010-2014. Speaking about the plan, the Executive Director of MVIWATA Mr. Steven Ruvuga told farmers that the new strategic will focus on 5 main areas which are; strengthening of farmers networks, lobbying and advocacy, economic empowerment, crosscutting issues like gender, HIV/AIDS and Environment and organizational development


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