The primary focus of the SERA policy project during the quarter was on capacity building at both the individual and institutional levels. This included support to the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT) to develop a strategic five‐year plan, an institutional evaluation of the Zanzibar Department of Food Security and Nutrition (ZDFSN), on‐going support to the Department of Food Security (DFS) of the mainland to improve their capacity to estimate food production and requirements, and monitor food security, and SERA staff teaching an eight‐week course on Policy Analysis to 20 students enrolled from various government ministries in Zanzibar.
New activities were also undertaken on research and policy analysis, including developing a concept note and scope of work for a land allocation and compensation study, and a week‐long field trip to the southern highlands to examine the food situation and respond to concerns raised by staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFSC) about the impacts of the export ban, and continued support to Tanzania Seed Traders Association (TASTA) in their activities to improve seed policies. The Prime Minister’s announcement of the lifting of the maize export ban in September 2012 continued to gain recognition for the SERA project’s policy reforms and the SERA Chief of Party (COP) was invited to present the work on the export ban as a case study at a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regional workshop in Uganda in October 2012. The COP and Senior Policy Advisor also provided support to the USAID mission on the Tanzanian commitments to the Group of Eight (G8) on various agricultural policy reforms. Meetings were held with senior staff of the Ministry of Finance in an effort to advance the development of a collateral registry in Tanzania, but those efforts have not been very effective and additional efforts will be required.
The communications and advocacy activities included video interviews with farmers, traders, and processors during the field trip to the southern highlands, and the incorporation of these into a video on the impact of the export ban in the southern highlands. The video was presented at the Feed the Future (FtF) partners meeting in November 2012 and received favourable comments. A request for proposal (RFP) was also prepared and disseminated for the development of a SERA website and a contract was awarded to a local firm.
The SERA project’s staff was given new challenges which allowed them to show their abilities, gain experience, and improve their skills. These included involving our junior policy analyst in the teaching of the skills portion of the policy course and giving a PowerPoint presentation on the course to the FtF partners meeting in November 2012, and our communications officer developing and presenting a multimedia presentation on the export ban at the partners meeting.
Going forward, the SERA project will begin new research on food security that is expected to result in a workshop to government and other stakeholders in June 2013. A land allocation and compensation study is expected to begin in February 2013 and be presented to government and other stakeholders in May or June 2013. Our institutional capacity building efforts will continue to support ACT, the ZDFSN and the DFS on the mainland. The development of SERA website is expected to be finished in Q2 and will be launched shortly thereafter.