Food Security In Africa – With Main Reference To Tanzania

This paper is concentrating on the sub Saharan African agriculture however with more emphasis on the Tanzanian Agriculture. Annex I gives a very brief account of the Tanzanian food security.

The agricultural sector is the leading sector of the economy in most of the sub Saharan countries including Tanzanian and accounts for over half of the GDP and export earnings. In Tanzania over 80% of the poor live in rural areas and their livelihood depends on agriculture. The main producer in the agriculture sector in the sub Saharan Africa is the small holder farmer. In Tanzania, the small holder producer has been able to contribute to the maintenance of a steady agricultural growth rate of over 3% per annum over the last decade. Although this rate is greater than the growth rate of the population, this rate is considered as unsatisfactory because it has failed to improve the livelihood of rural people whose major occupation is agriculture. This includes localised food insecurity and hunger that continues to be influenced by several elements being discussed in this paper which includes lack of access to and inadequate resources endowments at the household level. A recent statement by a senior donor representative in Tanzania, stating that ‘Agriculture in Africa has no future’, is a clear indication that the future of agriculture in sub Saharan Africa is very oblique. Much more effort is needed, including change of attitude of the national governments and the donors, if the livelihood of the majority rural small holder farmers has to prosper. As important as it is the social sectors (i.e. health, education, etc) need considerable support from both the national governments and the donors but not at the expense of ignoring the agricultural sector which is the biggest employer of the entire nation.

The contention should not be either agriculture or education. Both are needed urgently. An ignorant population is difficult to participate in anything, including improved agriculture. But agriculture should get more resources from other less priority sectors e.g. Administration and others.

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Author(s): De Wolff, John, Silas, Omolo


Organizations(s): Small Holder Dairy Development Plan