Media Release: Helping Tanzania develop its seed sector development strategy for climate resilience and food security

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Arusha, Tanzania, 14 November 2023. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Feed the Future through the SERA BORA project and CGIAR through the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) led CGIAR Initiative of Diversification in East and Southern Africa, better known as Ukama Ustawi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), organized a national multistakeholder consultation to develop and review Tanzania’s Seed Sector Development Strategy (SSDS) at the Gran Melia Hotel in Arusha. A national stakeholder consultation was held on 14 November 2023 to obtain initial feedback on the high-level goals and strategic objectives of the SSDS.

Despite being self-sufficient in staple foods like maize, rice, and beans, Tanzania faces challenges due to low agricultural productivity. The rapid population growth, at 3.2% annually, is expected to reach 100 million by 2034 and 150 million by 2050. However, crop yields in Tanzania are lower than the Sub-Saharan African average. The adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies remains low. To improve productivity, the country needs to focus on using improved seeds, managing soil health, and enhancing agronomic practices, including pest and disease control.

“Tanzania currently lacks an up-to-date seed strategy to allow the seed sector to develop and foster agricultural production. Through this partnership, we aim to assist the ministry in developing such a strategy that will not only increase and diversify agricultural production but also turn Tanzania into an important regional seed hub,” said Dr Idil Ires, Ukama Ustawi lead for SSDS technical assistance to the ministry and Postdoctoral Fellow – Water and Climate Policy at IWMI.

Ukama Ustawi is collaborating with the USAID Feed the Future Tanzania SERA BORA project to provide technical assistance to develop the Seed Sector Development Strategy (SSDS), coordinated and supervised by the Department of Crops Development (DCD) of the MoA. The strategy development process involves developing the SSDS concept note, work plan, and budget; establishing the technical committee; conducting stakeholder consultations; developing the results framework and its technical review; drafting the strategy; technical and stakeholder review; presenting the SSDS to the MoA; and the launch pegged for 2024.

According to Prof David Nyange, Chief of Party of the USAID-funded SERA BORA, “the envisaged Seed Strategy will advance goals of the national agricultural development strategies and programmes such as the ASDP-2 (2017/2018) and Agenda 10/30 Strategy for agriculture transformation (2022/2030) whose foundation is promoting agriculture productivity.”

Over the last two decades, Tanzania has been food self-sufficient, with a surplus of 15–20 percent. However, nine percent of households remain below the national food poverty line (HBS, 2017/18). Furthermore, 32 percent of children under two years are stunted.

“Food security in a country begins with seed security. That is why CGIAR, through our Regional Integrated Initiative, is partnering with national partners in Tanzania to support this policy process and result in a more coordinated sector backed by political will to implement it,” emphasized Dr Inga Jacobs-Mata, Director, Water, Growth and Inclusion and CGIAR/IWMI and lead of the Ukama Ustawi initiative.

Only one-third of Tanzanian farmers have adopted improved seed. Out of 12 million hectares of land farmed in Tanzania, only 2.6 million hectares have been planted with improved seed. Seed availability at affordable prices is therefore essential for adoption of improved seed.

The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the demand for improved seed is 130,000 metric tons; however, only 64,000 metric tons are available. The “Agenda 10/30” strategy for agriculture sector transformation aims to achieve seed self-sufficiency by 2030 to accelerate the pace of output growth in the sector to 10 percent. To achieve this target, there is an urgent need for a Seed Sector Development Strategy (SSDS) in Tanzania to serve as the road map.

The SSDS technical committee is chaired by the Director of Crops Development (DCD) and is represented by organizations including the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), the Tanzania Seed Traders Association (TASTA), the Tanzania Agro-dealers Association, and development partners (ASPIRES, IWMI, AGRA, SAGCOT, and TAHA).

USAID (United States Agency for International Development) is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

The USAID funded SERA BORA project works to accelerate Tanzania’s adoption of more effective policies and programs in order to drive growth of the agricultural sector, improve household food security and nutrition, and reduce poverty. It is implemented by Michigan State University in collaboration with a local Tanzanian NGO, Agricultural Sector Policy and Institutional Reforms Strengthening (ASPIRES Tanzania).

Ukama Ustawi is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), in partnership with several other CGIAR organizations such as the Alliance of Bioversity International – CIAT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Livestock Research  Institute (ILRI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Institute  Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and WorldFish, as well as government agencies, donors, and private sector partners (including value-chain actors, farmers, SMEs, financiers, and traders). IWMI is supported by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and its Tanzania node, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), in facilitating the national stakeholder consultation.


For more information, please contact:

Phindiwe Nkosi
Communications & Knowledge Management Expert
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
M: +27 726 184 275

Adelina Mbekomize Tenga
Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist
ASPIRES Tanzania
M: +255 753 008 916

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