Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture Clamps Down on Unofficial Agricultural Data

Kilimokwanza.org Team

In a bold move to streamline the flow of information and ensure the accuracy of agricultural data, the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania has issued a stern directive to all stakeholders within the agricultural sector, including private entities. Dated January 2, 2024, the directive, as laid out in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Tanzania Spices Processors Association (TASPA) in Dar es Salaam, aims to regulate the distribution of national agricultural statistics.

Under the auspices of the national Agricultural Policy, Laws, Programs, Projects, and Guidelines, the Ministry of Agriculture bears the responsibility of supervising and coordinating the development of Tanzania’s agricultural sector. This includes the collection and dissemination of agricultural statistics, as mandated by the Statistics Act, CAP 351.

Recent monitoring activities by the Ministry have uncovered that several private sector institutions have been distributing national agricultural statistics that do not align with the officially approved criteria and standards set by the National Bureau of Statistics. Moreover, some of the disseminated data has been identified as inaccurate, not reflecting the government’s informational framework. The ministry highlighted the potential negative implications of such practices, including the distortion of Tanzania’s agricultural development reality and the potential use of incorrect data by competing nations or stakeholders to paint a negative picture of the country’s agriculture on the global stage.

In response to these findings, the Ministry has directed TASPA and its affiliates to refrain from issuing any national agricultural statistics without explicit approval from either the Ministry of Agriculture or the National Bureau of Statistics. This measure is intended to safeguard the integrity of agricultural data and ensure that all disseminated information accurately reflects the sector’s status.

The letter, signed by acting PS Dr. Hussein M. Omar, underscores the Ministry’s commitment to accurate data management and its crucial role in the development of the agricultural sector. It also serves as a reminder of the legal requirements governing the release of such information.

The Ministry’s directive with copies also sent to the Chief Statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics, as part of a collaborative effort to standardize data dissemination within the agricultural sector in Tanzania.

This move is seen as a critical step towards enhancing the reliability of agricultural data, which is fundamental for planning, policy formulation, and the overall development of the agriculture sector in Tanzania. It reflects the government’s dedication to ensuring that the agricultural sector’s growth is accurately documented and communicated, thus fostering a transparent and informed agricultural community.