A $77.4 million project signed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Tanzania will bring much needed help to 260,000 rural households facing the impacts of climate change.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Development Programme (AFDP) will provide the means for rural people to boost productivity, improve food security and nutrition, and increase their resilience.
Poverty is higher in rural areas, with 31 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, and depending on livestock, food crop production and fisheries for their livelihood.
At a time when the Covid-19 crisis could push another 500,000 Tanzanians into poverty, AFDP will target small-scale farmers, small and medium seed producers, artisanal fishers, processors, aquafarmers, seaweed farmers and others in 41 districts in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Half the beneficiaries will be women and 30 per cent will be youths.
Agriculture is key to defeating poverty and hunger. It accounts for 29 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs 66.3 per cent of the population and meets 95 per cent of the country’s food requirements.
Eighty per cent of the food produced comes from small-scale farmers who rely on rainfall and have limited access to inputs and information that could help them improve yields.
Through the project, 13,000 metric tonnes of quality certified seeds – maize, sunflower and pulses – will be distributed to farmers.
Local extension services will help create awareness on improved seeds and facilitate market linkages with grain buyers and processors to avoid fake seeds in the market and improve uptake by farmers.
To increase protein intake and promote healthy diets in the participating rural households, AFDP will help increase the capacity of aquaculture development centres to produce 25 million tilapia fingerlings and 10 million catfish.
This will increase the supply and bring down the prices of fish in the local market.
The project will also develop kitchen gardens for vegetables and provide training for households on nutrition.
“Food security and nutrition is both an indicator and a driver of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It is also an investment in the future,” says Francesco Rispoli, IFAD Country Director for Tanzania.
In Tanzania, farmers will continue to bear the brunt of climate change, with droughts and increased rainfall putting pressure on the ecosystem that they depend on.
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