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Tanzania and agricultural investment

Yesterday, I joined other marchers in Tanzania to deliver a petition, which was signed by more than 16,000 Africans, to President Jakaya Kikwete. It asked African leaders to invest more in agriculture for smallholder farmers and to be transparent.

I spent the morning in the State House with Tanzania’s President Kilwete, members of the Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) and Bono’s ONE Foundation.

Setting an example

By increasing investment in the sector, President Kikwete has shown commitment to improve agriculture in Tanzania through the Kilimo Kwanza (agriculture first) initiative. Yesterday, we asked him to take the lead and set an example to other African leaders by encouraging them to increase investment to 10% of GDP, as promised in the 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture.

Reducing world hunger

Concern Worldwide has been an active member on the board of ANSAF for over six years and we support ANSAF’s advocacy for small-scale farmers in Tanzania. Yesterday’s speeches in the State House echoed Concern Worldwide’s aim to reduce hunger across the globe by working with smallholder farmers. Audax Rukonge, ANSAF's executive secretary said:

In the Tanzanian context, and probably most of African countries, poverty is a rural phenomenon, and agriculture is the main livelihood source. Tanzania can attain some of the Millennium Development Goals as well as national goals if we invest in agriculture and particularly smallholder farmers.

Changing attitudes to agriculture

President Kikwete promised to talk to his fellow heads of state on this issue. He said:

This is important because it reminds us that agriculture is the life-blood of our country, sustaining our people in towns and villages and meeting their basic needs. Our attitude towards agriculture can change, will change, and must change.

Partially funded by the EU