Tanzania National Budget 2010/11: Small Scale Farmers perspective on the Agriculture Sector Budget





1.    Agriculture sector: the Budget 2010/11, context and trend

•    The Budget for Fiscal year 2010/11 aims at implementation of Strategies for Economic Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUKUTA). The national vision for 2025 and Millennium Development Goals which has the objective of improving people standard of living and poverty alleviation.
•    We congratulate the Government of Tanzania for increasing the agriculture sector budget which has reached Tsh 903.8 b/- this financial year from Tsh 666.9b/- last year. This increase indicates that the budget allocation has reached 8.1 percent of the total budget of Tsh 11.1trn/-.
•    We also hail this year’s budget for continuing to give agriculture the top priority after education, health sector and Infrastructure. The four sectors have received big budget share.
•    This budget has promised to continue giving subsidies to the farmers, to expand the market and support efforts in adding value to the produce as well as extension services and irrigation.
•    The budget has also given tax exemption on livestock keeping, diary production, farm infrastructures, farm equipment and oil extracted from seeds produced locally.
•    The budget has also discussed establishment of the Agriculture Bank as a step forward to reinforce credit to farmers.
•    The budget has also discussed an important issue for us small farmers. The issue is land, where the government will establish national centres  to assist in land survey and architectural drawings under the national programme on the best use of land. This measure will liberate the small farmers and livestock keepers, only if it aims at making them own the land.
•    Another area in the budget which has given us farmers relief is the whole question of improving the control and supervision of public funds, including that determination to cut down on allowances in the ministries and government departments.
In short these are the areas that have comforted us, small farmers of Tanzania in this budget of 2010/11.

2.    Challenges and shortcomings of the budget of 2010/11 to 2011/12 from the Farmers Perspective

•    Following what we have seen before, the agriculture budget has been allocated 903.8b/- and when compared to 666.9b/- last year, this is an increase of 35.5 per cent.
•    Together with this increase which has pushed the agriculture budget to 8.1 per cent, this falls much behind on what the African Union countries had agreed in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003 which called for agriculture sector to reach 10 per cent by the year 2009.
•    Moreover, despite the commendable increase, what we can see as more productive to us small farmers is the way the funds are used for agriculture development.
•    According to government statistics showing government budget from 2002 -2010, there has been a big increase in agriculture budget for the next fiscal year, from 2.95 in 2002 to 8.1 in 2010.
•    In spite of this increase agriculture activity are stagnant and not progressing. The statistics show that the agriculture growth is still below an average of 4 per cent. This is below the projected growth of 6 percent in this crucial sector which is responsible in producing food and creating employment to millions of Tanzanians.
•    The research carried out in some districts in the country in April this year show that some districts are using approximately 40 percent of the agriculture budget to pay allowances among the officials and an average of 20 per cent for transport.
•    This manifests what President Jakaya Kikwete said during several visits in our districts that in our councils there were termites eating our money. Under such circumstances never will our agriculture progress even if there is an increase in budget.
•    In Short major agriculture budget expenditure goes to ordinary activities instead of development activities.
•    Another challenge for this budget is that it did not give any opportunity for investments in small farmers. Productivity for small farmers will depend on the large scale farmers and livestock keepers desire, such businesspeople and investors who have been granted many tax exemptions. Such tax relief are found in transportation of sugarcane products, sisal and tea. Also tax exemption is found in packaging and equipment for collection, storage and production of diary products, harvesting equipment, import of animal feed and export of flowers where small farmers do not directly benefit.

3.    Recommendations to improve this budget  and future budgets in line with farmers views
I.    Small farmers are the major producers of food in Tanzania. The thirst to attract investors in agriculture sector and issue various incentives should not forget us small farmers who are living in this country.
II.    We caution that most of the foreign large scale agriculture lnvestors in the country, like any other investors, their desire is to get as many tax holidays and tax relief as possible. They will need incentives to produce cash crop for export. Our contribution in producing subsistence food will still be needed for more years to come.
III.    We want extra efforts to be taken to educate and inform the farmers on the agriculture subsidies to be issued to them so as to contain few unscrupulous people who use the subsidies for their personal gain.
IV.    We want the increase in budget to go hand in hand with management and control of funds at village and district level. There should be deliberate effort to see that the large portion of the agriculture budget are utilized for development activities rather than being used for allowances and transport.
V.    We want transparency to enable stakeholders and small farmers in planning, implementation and evaluating the agriculture budget from village, ward and council levels.
VI.    We caution that the Agriculture Bank  to be established should focus on small farmers, it should benefit us and have its branches in the remote villages where we (small scale farmers) live.
VII.    We want that there should be deliberate effort to ensure that the Controller and Auditor General report reaches farmers in simple language so as to know how the officials are using our money.
VIII.    Whenever there is an unclean certificate from CAG issued to councils, residents should not be punished by being denied the funds allocated to us. There should be direct punishments to the executives who have messed up in the society and not collective punishment to members of the community.
IX.    Also the council directors, MPs and councilors should ensure that as soon as the budget is approved they should submit the budget feedback  on the way it is going to be disbursed on time and make the feedback  transparent to enable us to make a followup on the way the money is spent.
X.    Finally, from now onwards small farmers will be organized to make a follow up on planning, implementation and evaluation of the local government  budget. We request that there should be strong collaboration and political will to accord us such opportunity.  

Prepared by small scale farmer leaders who leads the following organizations;
 MVIWATA, PELUM Tanzania and the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale farmers Forum- ESAFF
Dar es salaam, 11 June 2010

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