The Tanzania SERA Policy Project (SERA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future (FtF) Initiative is implemented by Booz Allen Hamilton. The SERA Project is focused on improving the policy environment for agriculture, and developing individual and institutional capacity to undertake policy analysis and advocate effectively for policy reforms. SERA began in April 2011, and completed the third full year of operation on 30 September 2014. This Quarterly Report, Quarter 3 (Q3) of Project Year 4 (Y4), covers the period from 1 April 2015 to 30 June 2015.
In Q3 of Y4, SERA continued to support the Government of Tanzania (GOT) in its efforts to improve the agricultural policy environment in Tanzania and develop capacity to undertake policy analysis and advocacy. The presentation of the Policy Options for Food Security and Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction in Q2 was well received. In Q3, the GOT agenda was dominated by annual budget preparations and parliamentary sessions, and the forthcoming election on 25 October 2015; however, direct and indirect follow‐up communications with the GOT indicate that there are no objections to the recommendations presented and that there is interest in pursuing priority items. Despite the GOT’s focus on internal budgeting processes, SERA Project was able to make considerable progress of key policy issues and capacity building activities.
SERA activities included co‐sponsoring a seed industry stakeholder’s workshop with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), research on the implication of food basket costs for food security, the launch of a study on the agriculture business environment, and the development of a Concept Note for a study of food demand in Tanzania. Capacity building activities included meetings with the Department of Food Security (DFS) of MAFC to discuss piloting of the Food Basket Methodology (FBM), and the completion and final training for the Zanzibar Food Basket Methodology. The Strategic Plan for the Rice Council of Tanzania (RCT) was presented and accepted by the council’s Board of Directors (BOD). The final report on the Rapid Assessment of the Rice Sector was received and key results utilized by RCT. Communications activities included publication of a Policy Brief on the Secured Transaction/Collateral Registry System to facilitate the use of moveable assets as collateral on loans. Meetings with key Government officials were held to discuss SERA work plan and priority activities for the remaining period of the Project, which is scheduled to end in April, 2016.
A seed industry stakeholder’s workshop was held in Arusha on 11 – 12 June 2015 bringing together over 75 representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss progress and remaining challenges on key industry priorities. The MAFC presented progress on key policy issues related to plant breeders’ rights, licensing of public varieties, and the status of international accreditations. This activity was co‐sponsored with AGRA.
The Policy Brief on the Secured Transactions/Collateral Registry System was published and distributed to key Government officials and stakeholders. The Policy Brief, prepared by SERA consultant Dale Furnish, provides an overview and benefits of the System. The brief will be a useful tool in garnering support for the activity. The Bank of Tanzania (BOT) is undertaking preliminary work on the System, with additional support from SERA and the World Bank (WB) when appropriate.
Work began on the Food Basket Methodology Policy Brief. The Brief will provide new insights into food security in Tanzania and will be useful in designing better policies to respond to food security issues. When completed it will make a substantial contribution to SERA’s work on food security in Tanzania and will demonstrate the usefulness of the Food Basket Methodology for food security analysis.
A study of the business environment in agriculture was launched during a workshop at Coral Beach Hotel on 14 May 2015. The workshop was attended by staff from USAID, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), the President’s Delivery Bureau (PDB), and SERA. The draft Concept Note was circulated prior to the workshop and a PowerPoint presentation was given at the workshop. The Concept Note compared corporate tax rates in Tanzania and neighbouring countries, and showed Tanzania to have corporate tax rates that are eight to ten percentage points (20‐30%) higher than in neighbouring countries. This was recognized as a significant obstacle to attracting corporate agriculture, and to achieving the objectives of SAGCOT and Big Results Now (BRN). The business environment for Tanzanian agriculture is poor, making it difficult to attract commercial investors, thus providing the reason for the study. The need for the study was fully endorsed by the participants. The study team will include a member from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, the SAGCOT Centre, and the President’s Delivery Bureau for Agriculture. Suggestions from the participants included inviting the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to contribute a member to the study team, and to work closely with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the private sector.
The Concept Note for a study of food demand in Tanzania was developed by Edith Lazaro and circulated for review (Annex 4), and the data and proposed methodology have now been identified. In preparation for the activity, a meeting was held with Mr. Emilian Karugendo, Principal Statistician of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to discuss the 2011/2012 Household Budget Survey (HBS) that will be used in the study and to obtain all the data sets and documentation. Discussion where also held with Ms. Nadia Belghith, one of the authors of the recent Poverty Report released by the World Bank. With the preparatory work complete, the research study will begin in Q4.
SERA continued work on the implementation of the Food Basket Methodology on the Mainland and Zanzibar. Discussions with the National Food Security Department (NFSD) of MAFC for a pilot of the Food Basket Methodology continued and for a panel workshop with key stakeholders to discuss questions and concerns regarding use as an early warning tool on the mainland is planned for July 2015.
The Food Basket was completed for Zanzibar and the final training that will lead to the use and implementation of the methodology in future quarterly reporting has started. The training will be completed in Q4.
Two key capacity activities supporting the Rice Council for Tanzania where completed in Q3; the submission of the first Strategic Plan and the Rapid Assessment of the Rice Sector. Both activities contributed significantly to the organization’s development, stakeholders’ base, and advocacy efforts.