SERA Quarterly Report: April – June, 2012

The Tanzania SERA project has two primary objectives: i) to improve agricultural policies and ii) to build the capacity of individuals and organizations to undertake policy research and advocate for policy change. In support of these two objectives, a number of activities were undertaken in the project’s third quarter (Q3) from April 1 to June 30, 2012 of the second year. These included:

  • Concluding a major research activity on the impacts of the food crops export ban and disseminating the results at two workshops.
  • Continued efforts to improve the tax treatment of the seed industry by supporting two workshops for seed stakeholders to discuss industry concerns and begin to develop a strategy to pursue policy changes.
  • Discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania on the introduction of a collateral registry system.
  • Support to the Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT) for a study tour to inform their second five‐year strategic planning process.
  • Discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture of Zanzibar to develop their food security and nutrition analysis and work program.
  • Creation of a policy seminar series at Sokoine University jointly sponsored with Feed the Future (FtF) implementing partner, iAGRI.
  • Conducting a stakeholder’s perception survey to deepen understanding of policies issues and knowledge gaps.
  • Development of an agricultural database to assist performance monitoring and support more detailed research on agricultural policies.

The major research activity on the impacts of the food crop export bans begun in Q2 was successfully concluded in Q3. Three research teams were brought to Tanzania in March 2012 to conduct interviews and undertake field trips, and they completed their research in Q3. A workshop was presented to high‐level invited Government officials in Dodoma on June 16th and a second workshop for all stakeholders was presented at the Kunduchi Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam on June 19th. Both workshops were well attended and presented new and detailed evidence on the impacts of the export ban and food security. The research agenda was designed and coordinated by the SERA project and was prepared by teams from the Associates for International Resources and Development (AIRD), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). An additional study, done by the World Bank, on the impacts of climate change on Tanzanian export crops was undertaken independently and also presented at the workshop. The main findings of the research were: i) that the regional market for food crop exports from Tanzania, especially maize and rice, will remain in deficit for at least the next decade and offer good opportunities for Tanzanian exports, ii) that Tanzania will need to increase production in order to take advantage of this opportunity, iii) that the food crops export bans reduce incentives to producers, iv) that the export bans are not effective at controlling food price inflation or exports and harm the rural poor while generally benefiting the wealthier urban consumers, and v) that new approaches to food security are needed to more effectively reach the poorest. In addition to these main findings, the research provided greater understanding of diets of rural and urban Tanzanians, and identified weaknesses in the agricultural data systems that raise questions about the reliability of data for policy decision making.

Institutional capacity building efforts in Q3 were directed primarily at ACT which was identified as an important Tanzanian organization with broad stakeholder involvement and an ongoing policy dialogue with Government. A study tour for nine ACT board members and stakeholders to Zambia and Malawi was sponsored by the SERA project from June 19th to July 2nd to inform ACT’s strategic planning activities. An evaluation of ACT’s existing Strategic Plan will be undertaken in Q4. New opportunities for capacity building were also identified in the Department of Food Security of the mainland, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) and the Department of Food Security and Nutrition of the Ministry of Agriculture of Zanzibar (MAZ). Both have requested capacity building support from the SERA project and these will become major activities in Q4. Individual capacity building efforts have focused primarily on establishing the Policy Seminar Series at Sokoine University jointly with Feed the Future (FtF) implementing partner, iAGRI. A Policy Seminar Series organizing committee was established and a call for research proposals was released during Q3. Four proposals were accepted by the committee and will be supported by SERA and iAGRI with small grants to conduct the research.

In support of the primary objectives of improving policies and developing capacity, a database has been developed to assist SERA and other organizations to monitor agricultural performance and conduct policy analysis. Regional data has been obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT), and MAFC on regional production of major food crops and wholesale prices at major markets. Macroeconomic and demographic data obtained includes regional GDP, population and measures of nutrition. Efforts to obtain district level data have not yet been successful, but will continue.

The SERA project has collaborated with other FtF implementing partners and other development partners, provided leadership on important policy issues, and leveraged its resources by jointly sponsoring activities. The SERA project provided strong support to defining the policy agenda for agricultural policy reform for the G8 and GoT.

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