The Tanzania SERA Policy Project (SERA Project) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Initiative (FtF) completed its second full year of operation on September 30, 2013. There were substantial successes on the policy research and reform, and capacity building activities. There was a setback on the advocacy and communications activities due to the unexpected departure of the Communications Officer in mid‐August. That left several important activities, including the web site and other communications products, unfinished. The focus and scope of the advocacy and communications activities will now be re‐evaluated and staffing re‐considered.
New research and policy analysis activities undertaken by the SERA Project this past year included a study of land compensation and benefits sharing, research on rice policy on both Zanzibar and the mainland, further research on food security in Zanzibar and the mainland, and a critical review of the cost and optimal size of the strategic grain reserve held by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA). A food basket approach to measuring access to food at the regional level was piloted and approved for implementation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) Department of Food Security (DFS). After two years of discussion with the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the BoT gave its approval to develop and implement the collateral registry system in June.
Institutional capacity building activities continued to focus on the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), and the Department of Food Security on both the mainland and Zanzibar. Individual capacity building activities included continued joint sponsorship of the policy seminar series at Sokoine University with FtF implementing partner iAGRI, and the teaching of an eight week policy analysis course to 20 staff of various ministries in Zanzibar by the SERA Project’s Chief of Party (COP) and Junior Policy Analyst. The SERA Project also continued to develop its database of agricultural and economic regional and national data.
The USAID Feed the Future Initiative seeks to improve food security in Tanzania by increasing agricultural production and nutrition, while the SERA Policy Project is primarily focused on improving the policy environment for agricultural production. The SERA Project is not involved in analyzing policies on nutrition because of its limited resources to undertake analysis of both agricultural and nutrition policies and because other FtF implementing partners and organizations such as the World Bank have provided strong leadership in this area. However, SERA activities contribute to improving nutrition by increase rural incomes through its policy reform and capacity building activities. Increasing incomes then contribute to improved nutrition by enabling households to purchase increased quantities and more nutritious foods.