Small-scale farmers decry exclusion, marginalisation

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Guardian | 14 December 2011
The Mviwata offices in Tanzania.

BY FELIX ANDREW

Most local farmers are not well involved in development issues, which creates unnecessary conflicts and threatens the country's peace.

This was said yesterday in Dar es Salaam by some small-scale farmers who visited the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives head office. The visit, organized by Network of Small Scale farmers (Mviwata), aimed at educating farmers on various issues relating to agriculture and huge investment in land.

A farmer identified as Marcelina Charles said there was poor involvement of farmers in issues relating to them.

“Many of us are not aware of what is going on from the ministry to village levels, hence creating a gap which later on brings conflicts,” she said.

She said the government has been introducing various development projects which some are good while others are not to farmers.

According to her most of the recently projects are not good for the development of the country.

Citing an example, she said the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and Tanzania Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan (TAFSIP) were not good for the development of farmers.

She said the projects demand a huge piece of land which is allocated to big investors, leaving local farmers without farming land.

She said as the results Tanzania has been witnessing an increasing of land conflicts in areas allocated for big investors.

Farmers and herdsmen were not well involved in allocation of the land as a results they fight to regain it, she added.

A farmer identified as Habibu Simbamkuti said less involvement of farmers has created conflicts in many areas.

He said most of the investors have been doing their activities contrary to what agreed with the government.

Simbamkuti who is also Mviwata national board chairman, said some investors have been renting land allocated for agriculture.

Citing , he said such practices have been more rampant in Mbarali rice farms in Mbeya region.

For his part, director of Planning and Policy at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Emmanuel Achayo, said the government is working out all challenges which are facing farmers and agriculture industry.

However, he challenged Mviwata to continue educate farmers on various issues relating to them.

“You have got a big role to play, please educate fellow farmers and other stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities,” he said.

He noted that there was a need to overhaul the whole system of agriculture in order to make the industry more vibrant.
Original source: Guardian
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