Empowering Regional and District Level Planners in Tanzania to Address Climate Change Threats to Agriculture

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Dr. Fidelis Myaka, IITA Project Manager for the Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security project, explains the climate smart agriculture practices used at the demonstration plot at Kilimbili village, Morogoro, Tanzania.

Erratic and extreme weather conditions, like floods and droughts, brought on by climate change are one of the top threats to global food security. Crop yields are expected to decline globally after 2030. By 2050, 3 percent of Africa’s land will no longer be suitable for maize.[1] In Tanzania, climate change is a major obstacle to increasing agriculture productivity for food security and achieving the country’s vision for development.

Tanzania has made tremendous efforts to consider climate change in relevant national and agricultural policies and strategies, but implementing these policies and strategies is hampered by lack of knowledge, tools and resources, especially at the local level. 

Bringing Climate Smart Agriculture to Local Planners

To support the country in these efforts, a team of international experts are in Tanzania from March 25–April 5, 2019, to train planners and key stakeholders at the regional and district levels on how to plan for and support smallholder farmers to cope with climate change and implement climate-smart agriculture.

They are drawn from the University of California, Davis; the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) California Climate Hub; EcoAgriculture Partners; Cornell University; and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

The trainings, taking place in Morogoro and Ungunja, Zanzibar, are part of the Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security project, an initiative of the United Republic of Tanzania in partnership with USDA and funds from the United States Government through USAID.

Commending the training, Shakwaanande Natai, Head of the Environmental Management Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture said, “This training is critically important in supporting the Government’s efforts to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, build the resilience of the rural farming communities, reducing and controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining the environment through mainstreaming climate smart agriculture.”

“The training brings together action-oriented leaders who can influence others and create an enabling environment for transformation of agricultural systems in the face of climate change,” added Caitlin Corner-Dolloff, Team Lead for Resilient Agriculture Programs, in the Office of Capacity Building and Development at the USDA. “We hope participants will walk away from this training informed and with a landscape action plan that they can implement through policies and programs in their region with the support of a new network of leaders with similar visions.”

Landscape Approach to Climate Smart Agriculture

The training program, “Landscape Climate-Smart Agriculture Pilot Course,” emphasizes using leadership strengths to build collaborative interventions to scale up climate-smart agriculture. The training also emphasizes a landscape approach to successfully and sustainably implement climate-smart agriculture.

Dr. Hassan Shelukindo, Principal Agricultural Officer, President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government noted that the landscape approach to climate-smart agriculture was a new, but very important concept. It is a holistic and participatory approach which considers the needs of diversity of land uses, while supporting conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, to ensure sustainability of climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies.

During the official opening of the workshop, Dr. Shelukindo urged the participants to make use of the knowledge gained.

“Climate change is real. Though we’re not emitting much as a country, we are very much affected. Let us start to do something. Change starts with you and then the community. Let us take the training seriously and start seeing how to make climate-smart agriculture happen in our districts,” he said. “It’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know.”

One of the participants, Alloyce Gaspar Mawere, the Regional Environmental Expert Officer from Iringa Region, said he looked forward to learning ways to stop climate change and use the landscape approach.

He pointed out the Iringa region was one of the country’s food security baskets and home to three hydroelectric power stations and the planned Stiegler’s Gorge. All these crops depend on water from the great Ruaha River Basin, which has been greatly reduced by drought and upstream agriculture. Without proper landscape planning, climate change will affect the country’s electricity supply as well as regional and national food security.

“From this training I would like the Local Government Authorities to leave with knowledge on the collaborative planning cycle to plan for climate-smart agriculture for sustainable food security,” Alloyce said. “Collaborative planning, which brings together stakeholders at the grassroots to address climate change challenges, will create a sense of ownership in the implementation of the plans.”