Smallholder farmers in Tanzania face various challenges that impede their growth and ability to effectively contribute to food sovereignty and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) relative to those engaged in other sectors. Some of the constraints they face relate to lack of proper engagement in the formulation and implementation of economic and social projects that are implemented by local government authorities (LGAs) in their areas, thus lack of accountability is highly experienced.
Other challenges smallholder farmers face include lack and insecure access to land, poor physical infrastructure. Lack of access to proper roads, for example, limit the ability of a farmer to transport inputs, produce and also access information. Infrastructure is very poor, markets for agricultural inputs and outputs are often missing and unreliable for smallholder farmers. This means that the acquisition of agricultural resources becomes different and the supply of market services also becomes limited.
In most of the projects which are implemented at different levels, farmers are not effectively involved during formulation and implementation of the projects as per the laws and regulations. As a result of this poor involvement of smallholder farmers, some of the projects which are implemented do not directly reflect and affect farmer’s welfares and needs.
To overcome these challenges, MVIWATA’s strategic plan (2017 – 2021) goal number two, depicts on conducting capacity building through social accountability monitoring training and offering tracking tools to smallholder farmers for them to effectively engage in formulation and monitoring the implementation of social and economic projects implemented in their respective areas.
Recently, MVIWATA conducted a three (3) days training to 35 (20 women, 15 men) smallholder farmers and members of MVIWATA in Ludewa district, Njombe region on tools for monitoring the public expenditures and programmes on agricultural sector with the aim of increasing good governance practices and accountability in agricultural sector. The participants came from four (4) wards of Ludewa district namely Mlangali, Lupanga, Milo and Igumbilo.
The training topics were facilitated by MVIWATA staffs, Ludewa District Agricultural, Irrigation and Cooperative Officer (DAICO) and Ludewa District Planning Officer (DPO). The trainers used participatory approaches such as group works and presentations, discussions and Question and Answers.
The topics facilitated to smallholder farmers included understanding MVIWATA’s History, Philosophy, Mission and Vision, Understanding agricultural policies in Africa (CAADP) and the 2019 report for Tanzania, Understanding the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP II) its objectives and its monitoring system.
The training also focused on understanding the structure of Local Governments Authorities (LGAs), good governance and the role of farmers’ participation in planning and monitoring. Other topics covered included understanding the national budget process and participation of smallholder farmers, the rationale of Social Accountability and its monitoring process, Planning guide and presentation of participatory planning & budget from villages, wards to districts and finally the state of the district agricultural budget, Ludewa district. Sustainable farming and environmentally friendly agriculture (OPV) and 10% budget allocation from district to special groups (women, youth and people with disability).
The training brought awareness on various aspects according to the topics covered to the participants and a way forward was laid for further actions.
Capacity building to smallholder farmers and members of MVIWATA on social accountability and monitoring processes is part of MVIWATA’s activities aimed to ensure smallholder farmers are included in decision making on matters that touch their and also to instil the sense of smallholder farmers’ activism.