Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Supporting Sustainable Food and Agriculture transitions in Tanzania

FAO’s Multidisciplinary Fund (MDF) supports knowledge sharing and capacity building in Tanzania to spur progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals
17 April 2020

Two recent initiatives in Tanzania have helped build capacity among farming communities, the public and private sectors, NGOs and civil society, to accelerate the transition to more productive and sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Supported by the MDF, a national conference and workshop brought together stakeholders from across society to enhance knowledge and share experiences related to their efforts of achieving the SDGs and Malabo Commitments, and the transformative potential approaches such as Agroecology have to offer.

Agriculture’s key role

Agriculture plays a leading role in Tanzania’s economy. It accounts for a quarter of the country’s GDP, and approximately 80 percent of the population relies on agriculture and food production for their livelihoods. 

Farming underpins the nutrition and food security of millions. A significant majority of Tanzania’s most vulnerable communities live in rural areas and depend upon their land for sustenance.

A healthy agriculture sector is therefore essential in securing a Zero Hunger future for the country. While family farmers and smallholders are often hindered by limited capacity and lack access to knowledge and resources, significant growth has been recorded in recent years, with medium-sized farms now representing one-third of overall farmland holdings.

Committed to change

Tanzania has committed to several international frameworks and agreements aiming to spur social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The country has, for example, embraced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, which strives to deliver continent-wide transformational change. 

From an agricultural perspective, Tanzania has also endorsed the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, in which African countries set out goals and targets which anticipated the objectives of the SDGs. 

Achieving the Malabo Declaration and SDG visions within their deadlines requires immediate and effective action.

Building capacity

In October 2019, Tanzania and FAO organised the “National Stakeholders Workshop on Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems Transformation for Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security”. The aim of the workshop, which was supported by MDF funding, was to enhance capacity among the country’s key agricultural institutions and actors.

Building upon the earlier “Regional Workshop for Africa: Mainstreaming Sustainable Food and Agriculture (SFA) in the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of the Malabo Declaration”, held in Ethiopia in May 2019, the two-day workshop presented a series of tools, approaches, actions and policies that can accelerate progress towards multiple SDGs and support transformational change in the country.

More than 50 stakeholders from the government, civil society organisations, farmers’ networks, the private sector, academia, and FAO shared their knowledge and experiences in working towards the transition to SFA systems and the achievement of the SDGs.

Mainstreaming sustainable approaches

A key tool in meeting the aims and commitments of the SDGs and the Malabo Declaration are approaches that enhance the social, economic and environmental sustainability of our agriculture and food systems.

Expanding upon the knowledge shared during the workshop, in November 2019 FAO co-organized the Conference on National Ecological Organic Agriculture within the framework of the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative, supported by MDF funds. 

Over 300 participants attended and connected during the two-day conference, which focussed on a set of three key thematic areas: Food security and safety, Livelihood improvement and industrialisation, Resilience to climate change and environmental conservation.

During the event, the country’s Agriculture Parliament Committee chairperson urged the government to accelerate the implementation of agroecology approaches, which are endorsed in national policies and actions plans.

Agroecology is an SFA approach based on applying ecological concepts and principles to optimize interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment, while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed to ensure fair and sustainable food systems.

Driving progress

As per other MDF initiatives, the workshop and conference held in Tanzania combined the experience and expertise of a wide variety of actors, creating connections and enhancing knowledge to accelerate the transition towards SFA and a Zero Hunger World.

FAO continues to work with local and international stakeholders to support Tanzania in its efforts to achieve the aims of the Malabo Declaration and the SDGs.

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