The Tanzania SERA Policy Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Initiative (FtF) completed its third full year of operation on September 30, 2014. SERA Project has made significant achievements towards improving the agricultural policy environment and developing individual and institutional capacity in the three and one‐half years of the Project. SERA Project is well placed to continue those achievements over the remaining one and one‐half years of the Project, and has achieved a reputation for fair, balanced, and timely analysis and cutting edge research on important policy issues. This has led the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (GoT), the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGoZ), and development partners to regularly turn to SERA Project for research and advice on policy issues. SERA Project has also actively engaged in a program of individual and institutional capacity building to improve the ability of individuals and institutions to engage in policy analysis and advocacy, and to implement policies and improved methodologies identified through research. The SERA Project website was launched in Year 3 and will be a primary information and advocacy tool for policy reform efforts.
Policy Research and Reform activities in Year 3 focused on quantifying the impacts of the GoT’s decision to lift the maize export ban in 2011, finalizing a study on land compensation schemes and the powers of local communities to lease village lands, and on an analysis of rice irrigation in Zanzibar. In addition, SERA Project continued active discussions with Government and other stakeholders on policy issues that arose during the year including the impacts of duty‐free rice imports, the appropriate stocking levels for food security, the need for export permits, promoting exports of surplus cereals, and improving data for policy analysis. Efforts also continued to improve the tax treatment of seeds and seed packaging materials through support to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) and the Tanzania Seed Traders Association (TASTA). SERA Project’s effort to support the development of a modern collateral registry at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) also progressed and the activity is now reported to be high priority of the BoT. The Food Security Policy Options Paper planned for completion in Year 3 was not completed due to the focus on other policy issues and the busy schedule of the MAFC which precluded the opportunity to discuss preliminary findings prior to finalizing the Paper.
The focus of SERA Project’s Capacity Building activities in Year 3 was on the training of staff of the MAFC and other Ministries on the implementation of the Food Basket Methodology (FBM), and on the Data Assessment of Food Security and the Early Warning Systems. FBM capacity building activities included two trainings of two weeks, each undertaken in collaboration with the staff of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS). This capacity building activity seeks to strengthen the capacity of the MAFC’s Department of Food Security (DFS) to monitor food costs at the regional level in a more objective and timely manner. The Data Assessment focused on identifying data needs and availability for food security analysis and will likely lead to further capacity building activities. In addition to these important activities, SERA Project continued to support institutional capacity building in the Zanzibar Department of Food Security and Nutrition (DFSN) and the Policy Seminar Series at Sokoine University (SUA).