The Iringa Regional Commissioner Hon. Queen Cuthbert Sendiga urged smallholder farmers’ members and non-members of MVIWATA to strengthen their unity and solidarity under the umbrella of MVIWATA for collective actions and protection of their interests. This was said during the Annual Meeting of members of MVIWATA Iringa branch held on 17 August 2021 at Siasa ni Kilimo conference centre, Iringa. Smallholder farmers and members of MVIWATA totaling 150 from Kilolo, Iringa DC and Mufindi districts attended the meeting.
Other participants of the meeting were District Commissioner, District Administrative Secretary and Executive Director for Iringa DC, Iringa DC Chairperson, Agricultural, Irrigation and Cooperative officers at regional level and from the 3 districts, Regional Community Development Officer, MVIWATA board members and staffs also attended the meeting.
In his introductory remarks, the RC commended smallholder farmers for their massive participation to their annual meeting. Hon Sendiga also acknowledged the commendable work done by MVIWATA of uniting smallholder farmers through their producer groups and networks in defending their interests through capacity development, facilitating communication and advocacy on policies and systems.
Hon Sendiga reminded government officers present at the meeting to ensure that members of MVIWATA through their groups and networks are recognized and acknowledged in participation and access to various opportunities available from the government. Hon Sendiga sited an example of loan opportunities for groups of women, youth and the disabled as among the opportunities available. She further added that if the government officers starts recognizing the good practices of grassroots farmers’ groups and networks of MVIWATA, it would be much easier for farmers’ challenges to be addressed in collaboration with different stakeholders.
Mr Stephen Ruvuga a MVIWATA Executive Director said during the meeting that smallholder farmers faces a number of challenges be it on inputs or markets, land or climate change. He further added that such challenges including many more can easily be addressed when those affected comes together with one strong voice, unity and solidarity under the national umbrella of smallholder farmers in Tanzania which is MVIWATA.
Mr. Ruvuga also thanked the Regional Commissioner for her time and readiness to attend the farmers’ regional annual meeting; he also commended the readiness and presence of government officers. Mr Ruvuga described it as an exemplary sign on how the government is ready to work in collaboration with farmers through their organization (MVIWATA) in addressing different challenges that farmers encounter in their day-to-day farming processes.
Annual Meeting for members of MVIWATA – Iringa is part of the important annual forums in accordance with the MVIWATA constitution and regulations held at all MVIWATA branches to discuss the development and prosperity of MVIWATA as well as electing MVIWATA leaders in accordance with MVIWATA guidelines. At the meeting, MVIWATA members in Iringa region had the opportunity to elect Steering Committee members that will lead for the next three (3) years.