Over the years’ donors, civil society organizations, Tanzanian farmers, the private sector and government have engaged in the agricultural sector with various results. The learning on successes and failures of these engagements remain largely limited to individual organizations and institutions. There has been as yet no consistent system and mechanism in place to capture the learning resulting from these initiatives. The result has been a missed opportunity on the part of all actors to draw on the best practices and innovations and to avoid mistakes that hinder the development of the sector.
The Agricultural Non State Actors Forum (ANSAF) was formed in 2006, during its initial stage it was known as Private Sector and Civil Society Agricultural Working Group (PSCS-AWG). ANSAF is a member-led forum for non-state actors to discuss and work towards solutions to improve the agriculture sector in the interests of men and women currently living in poverty.
ANSAF works with members to bring together a critical mass of actors and as such supports the coordination of critical debates on local, national and global issues focusing on policies and practice. It represents its members’ interests and needs in national and local forums of dialogue to influence change using evidence based on research and experience to stimulate growth of the agricultural sector focusing with more interest on smallholder farmers. ANSAF also actively promotes accountability, transparency and citizen engagement (inclusiveness) within the agricultural sector.
ANSAF organizes and conducts informative and regular forums for debate and discussion on pertinent sectorial issues with farmers, parliamentary committees, development partners, as well as private sector and civil society organizations. The focus of the dialogues is to generate learning and sharing best practice within the wider stakeholders, including ANSAF members’ farmers, policy makers and other stakeholders.
The agricultural sector annual growth continues to be 4% on average. However, the potential is not being met. There are mismatches between policy statements and implementation, limited clarity on how the government prioritizes and disburses funds, particularly the volume of transfers to Local Government Authorities (LGAs), minimal spaces for engagement for farmers to engage in decision and policy making particularly on priorities and resource allocations, a poor environment for the private sector in engaging on agribusiness; and continuous embezzlement and funds misuse as reported by the Controller Auditor General (CAG) in the sector. Furthermore, poverty is on rise (HBS 2007) and Tanzania experiences hunger in some regions, almost every year, whereby a significant part of the Tanzanian population experiences food shortage. Furthermore, the 2012 Global Hunger Index reports on key challenges such as ever increasing pressure on land, increased food price volatility, extreme weather shocks and inherent global food systems that have failed to address these issues.
The sector also faces challenges related to institutional architecture, inclusion of stakeholders as well policy framework. Dialogue platforms are very limited and their effectiveness remains a challenge. As the government opens up for more private sector to investing on land -agribusiness interventions are flourishing thus, creating potential conflicts on land, amid higher expectations resulting from Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT. Experiences from Loliondo, Mvumero as well as recent incidences in Mtwara are among the pace-setters on how urgent the issues on land and inclusive decision-making processes need to be framed. There is a sustained commitment by the government, in terms of policy direction as well as resource allocation.
Governance issues hamper the performance of the sector at large. One of such issues in the level of openness and accountability, at local level in particular. Tanzania is a signatory to open government partnerships (OGP) as a way of promoting transparency and increased downward accountability as a means to empower local communities to hold the government into account. Lately, oversight institutions, such as full council, parliament and control audit general (CAG) have increased their involvement with limited success. Political parties, especially opposition remain to be pressure groups through which communities can exercise their power and hold the government accountable in delivering quality services.