Agriculture in Tanzania: Dr. Salim Nandonde Discusses the Progress and Challenges of ASDP 2

The United Republic of Tanzania has been steadfast in its mission to revolutionize its agricultural sector. A pivotal part of this mission is the Agricultural Sector Development Programme Phase Two (ASDP II), a ten-year national umbrella program that kicked off in 2018/2019. This program encompasses a broad range of initiatives across the crop, livestock, and fisheries sub-sectors, involving both public and private sectors,” explains The Coordinator of Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) II in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Aligning ASDP II with National Goals: Dr. Nandonde explains, “ASDP II isn’t just an agricultural program; it’s the embodiment of Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025. It’s woven into the fabric of the Five-Year Development Plan II and is informed by broader strategies like TAFSIP and ASDS. Reflecting the CCM manifestos of 2015 and 2020, it represents a cohesive political and developmental will.”

Program Components and Detailed Objectives: Dr. Nandonde details the four pillars of ASDP II:

  1. Sustainable Water and Land Use Management: “Here, our focus is on sustainable management practices for water and land resources, which are the lifeblood of our agricultural sectors.”
  2. Enhanced Productivity and Profitability: “This component targets a surge in productivity, especially in commercial agriculture. It’s about identifying and prioritizing commodities that can drive economic growth.”
  3. Commercialization and Value Addition: Dr. Nandonde states, “We aim to improve rural marketing and value addition. This is where the private sector’s dynamism and the efficiency of farmer organizations come into play.”
  4. Sector Enablers, Coordination, and M&E: “This is about building and strengthening the institutional and coordination frameworks. Rigorous monitoring and evaluation are crucial for assessing progress and making informed adjustments,” he adds.

In-Depth Look at 2022/2023 Implementation Status: Reflecting on the progress, Dr. Nandonde shares, “By 2022/2023, we’ve seen noteworthy advancements. However, the distribution of funds and the preparation of strategic projects have posed challenges. Strengthening the utilization of RMS and Basket Funds has become a priority.”

Detailed Achievements and Persisting Challenges: “We’ve seen a remarkable increase in irrigated areas, and productivity in key commodities has risen. The food sufficiency level is commendable, though there’s room for improvement,” Dr. Nandonde observes. He continues, “Our challenges are multifaceted – from funding distribution and strategic project planning to inadequate focus on nutrition, youth, and gender. Developing synergy and leverage within ASDP II’s frameworks is ongoing.”

Sector-Specific Progress and Innovations: Discussing specific sectors, Dr. Nandonde highlights, “In crop production, we’ve reduced the farmgate-market price gap for essential grains like maize and rice. In livestock, there’s been an uptick in milk production. The fisheries sector is also seeing gradual improvements in sustainable practices.”

Exploring the Financial Dynamics of ASDP II: Dr. Nandonde delves into the financial aspects of the program. “Funding is a critical component. We’re seeing an increasing trend in private sector investment in agriculture, with about 1.4 trillion Tanzanian Shillings invested across various commodity value chains by 2021/2022. However, the flow of funds needs more streamlining. Some ‘pipes’ are yet to be fully functional, indicating areas where more work is needed,” he explains.

Impact on Smallholder Farmers: “One of our primary focuses is the smallholder farmers,” says Dr. Nandonde. “Their empowerment is key to achieving our objectives. We’re working towards capacitating farmer groups, enhancing their access to markets, and providing them with the tools and knowledge to increase productivity.”

Nutrition, Youth, and Gender Inclusion: Dr. Nandonde acknowledges the gaps in these areas. “While we’ve made strides in agricultural productivity, our interventions in nutrition, youth engagement, and gender inclusivity need more attention. We’re exploring strategies to integrate these components more effectively into the program,” he notes.

Addressing Climate Change and Sustainable Practices: “Climate change is a reality we cannot ignore,” Dr. Nandonde emphasizes. “Our program is adapting by promoting sustainable agricultural practices, including climate-smart agriculture. This is not only about increasing productivity but also about ensuring environmental sustainability.”

Leveraging Technology and Innovation: “Technology is a game-changer,” Dr. Nandonde says. “We’re encouraging the adoption of innovative technologies and practices. This includes everything from improved seed varieties to digital tools for market access and farmer education.”

Strengthening Agricultural Institutions: Dr. Nandonde highlights the role of institutional strengthening in ASDP II’s success. “Strengthening agricultural institutions, including policy frameworks and regulatory bodies, is crucial. This also involves enhancing the capacity of local government authorities in agricultural planning and execution.”

Looking Ahead: The Next Five Years: “As we look towards the next five years, our focus is on consolidating gains and addressing the identified challenges,” Dr. Nandonde concludes. “We are optimistic that with the continued collaboration of all stakeholders, including development partners, the private sector, and the farming community, we will achieve the transformative goals set out in ASDP II.”

Future Outlook: Dr. Nandonde asserts, “ASDP II’s implementation is on track, though not without its share of hurdles. The comprehensive Mid Term Review is crucial. It will reassess our strategies and pave the way for a vibrant second phase. This includes integrating new initiatives like agenda 10/30 and aligning with FYDP II