Implemented by Booz Allen Hamilton, the Tanzania SERA Policy Project (SERA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Initiative (FtF) began in April 2011 and completed the second full year of operation on September 30, 2013. The second quarter Project Year 3 covers the period from January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014.
SERA Project is focused on improving the policy environment for agriculture, and developing individual and institutional capacity to undertake policy analysis and advocate effectively for policy reforms. Quarter 1 (Q1) of Year 3 focused heavily on establishing relationships with new government actors in policy and on designing and staffing new activities to be undertaken in Year 3. Quarter 2 (Q2) developed these relationships and continued ongoing activities.
A number of important meetings were held with key government counterparts in Q2 and resulted in approval and support for new and ongoing activities on food security, land policy, access to credit, improved seed policy, and the economic environment. In particular, SERA staff met with senior staff of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in early January to discuss the development of the collateral registry system. In that meeting, SERA learned that the BoT has included the activity as one of its priority activities in its efforts to improve access to credit. This was a major accomplishment for SERA as since the project’s inception, we have worked to promote the development of a modern collateral registry system in Tanzania.
The draft Land Compensation and Benefits Sharing study undertaken by Landesa, with support from SERA, was discussed with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development (MLHHSD) in mid‐January. The discussion with the Ministry included the legal basis for local communities to engage directly with investors. This could provide an alternative to the current practice of communities converting their land to general land for the central government to control. Further work is being undertaken to obtain a second legal opinion from a respected Tanzanian land law expert. SERA also agreed to co‐sponsor a national workshop on land policy with the Ministry.
A meeting was held with the co‐directors of the MUCHALI Framework, which is the Government of Tanzania’s (GoT) early warning and disaster response activity. The program is jointly managed by the Department of Disaster Management in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC). A work plan was developed to better utilize data to identify chronically food insecure villages and districts, and once identified, the potential for developing programs to assist such villages and districts out of poverty will be explored. A meeting was held with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss the proposed SERA work plan on Food Security and other activities, and support and approval was received. The activities discussed included: 1) developing a policy options paper on food security, 2) continued training of Ministry staff on the Food Basket Methodology (FBM), 3) a study of food security data systems, 4) preparation of a submission to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on improved tax treatment of seeds, and 5) further research to quantify the impacts of the maize export ban. All of these activities will begin in Q3 of Y3 and will be priorities for SERA.
Other activities undertaken in Q2 included continued capacity building with the Zanzibar Department of Food Security and Nutrition (ZFSND) and participation of senior SERA staff in the Big Results Now (BRN) lab. In addition to the work activities noted, two new staff joined the SERA team, including the Operations Manager, and the Communications and Capacity Building (CCB) Specialist.