The Tanzania SERA Policy Project (SERA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Initiative (FtF) began in May 2011 and completed the second full year of operation on September 30, 2013. The SERA Policy 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.
The first quarter of Year 3, from October 1 to December 31 of 2013, focused heavily on establishing relationships with new actors in policy and on designing and staffing new activities to be undertaken in Year 3. Several important staff changes took place in the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (GoT) in Q3 and Q4 of Year 2, requiring SERA to establish new relationships with these key GoT officials. Among the most important, was the shift of the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to the State House to lead the Big Results Now (BRN) President’s Delivery Bureau. This led to the appointment of a new PS in the PMO. The acting PS in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) was also appointed PS. Meetings were requested with new appointees, and held with the official appointed to lead the BRN President’s Delivery Bureau and the new PS in the PMO. A meeting could not be arranged with the new PS in the MAFC due to her busy schedule. Her policy priorities are not yet clearly understood and future efforts will be made to meet her while we continue to support and communicate with her through MAFC channels. A new policy coordinator was also appointed in the MAFC and has worked closely with SERA to identify policy priorities and coordinate policy analysis.
In addition to these relationship building activities, an analysis of the profitability of irrigated and rain‐fed rice in Zanzibar was completed and presented to the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGoZ) in December 2013. Work began on the design of a rules‐based system for food imports at the request of the GoT. Further analysis on land issues was undertaken, and a meeting requested with the Minister of Lands to present the findings. Additional efforts were made to encourage the GoT to develop and implement a collateral registry system. Capacity building activities continued with the Zanzibar Department of Food Security and Nutrition (ZDFSN) and the Department of Food Security (DFS) of the MAFC on the mainland. The capacity building activity with the DFS will be undertaken in Q2‐Q4 jointly with the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This activity will train approximately 30 staff of the MAFC and other Ministries on the food basket methodology for estimating food requirements at the regional level. A scientifically rigorous study of the impacts of the maize export ban on maize prices in each region was planned in Q1 and will begin in Q2 and continue into Q3. Recruitment to replace the Operations Manager and Communications Officer, who both left the project in 2013, was undertaken with advertisements in the Guardian and Daily News that received nearly 100 applications for each position. Interviews were conducted for the Operations Manager position and a candidate selected. The Communications Officer position was modified to more closely meet the changing requirements of the SERA Project. An international consultant was engaged to finalize the website which will be launched in Q2 of Year 3.