Building an Effective Advocacy Movement for Sustainable and Equitable Agricultural Development in Africa Smallholder Agriculture And Advocacy Groups In Tanzania

"Stepping out of the hope of freedom and into the arms of the free market, many sub-Saharan African countries, including Tanzania, took on the liberalisation and privatisation packages of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the early 1980s. Tanzania overhauled the post-independence policies of Ujamaa and replaced them with policies that were free-market friendly, so to speak. This chapter brings together the major legal, political and economic policies, processes and structures that have fuelled Tanzania’s short walk to the global market. The paper is devoted to an analysis of the efficacy of the policies in terms of delivering equitable socio-economic development. Furthermore, the paper examines the role of smallholder agriculture advocacy groups in responding to policy measures that attempt to address agricultural development. Tanzania relies heavily on agriculture both to support its populace and as a backbone to the country’s economy. There are approximately 4,000,000 peasant families in the country in a population of 40,700,000 people. Approximately 84% of the population relies on agriculture for employment according to the 1993 Agriculture Sector review and recent figures remain at 80%. Smallholder peasants with access to an average of 2-5 Ha per household dominate the sector. There are only 1,254 large-scale farms in the country. Most of the food crops: rice, banana, maize, cassava, beans, millet, sorghum and sweet potatoes are grown by small-scale farmers, while some cash crops such as sugar, tobacco, tea, sisal, wheat, barley are grown in large-scale farms. More recently, there is a trend on the part of large-scale plantations to encourage small-scale outgrowers, especially in sugarcane production. Recent economic trends show that the agriculture sector has been shrinking in terms of its contribution to the GDP and both the rate of growth and productivity in this sector has either been declining or stagnant."