Production of catfish and tilapia in Tanzania is set to increase substantially, following the launch of a $77.4 million project.
Signed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Agriculture and Fisheries Development Programme (AFDP) aims to help 260,000 rural households facing the impacts of climate change.
To increase protein intake and promote healthy diets in the participating rural households, IFAD said in a press release that the programme will help to increase the capacity of aquaculture development centres, allowing them to produce 25 million tilapia fingerlings and 10 million catfish a year. They add that this “will increase the supply and bring down the prices of fish in the local market”.
The project will also develop kitchen gardens for vegetables and provide training for households on nutrition.
“Food security and nutrition is both an indicator and a driver of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It is also an investment in the future,” said Francesco Rispoli, IFAD country director for Tanzania, in a press release.
Poverty is higher in rural areas, with 31 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, and depending on livestock, food crop production and fisheries for their livelihood. At a time when the Covid-19 crisis could push another 500,000 Tanzanians into poverty, AFDP will target small-scale farmers, small and medium seed producers, artisanal fishers, processors, aquafarmers, seaweed farmers and others in 41 districts in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. According to IFAD, half the beneficiaries will be women and 30 per cent will be youth.
Agriculture is key to defeating poverty and hunger. It accounts for 29 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), employs 66.3 per cent of the population and meets 95 per cent of the country’s food requirements. Eighty per cent of the food produced comes from small-scale farmers who rely on rainfall and have limited access to inputs and information that could help them improve yields.
Through the project, 13,000 tonnes of quality certified seeds – maize, sunflower and pulses – will be distributed to farmers. Local extension services will help create awareness on improved seeds and facilitate market linkages with grain buyers and processors to avoid fake seeds in the market and improve uptake by farmers.
In Tanzania, farmers will continue to bear the brunt of climate change, with droughts and increased rainfall putting pressure on the ecosystem that they depend on. To help build their resilience, farmers will be able to access locally adapted seeds. Small-scale producers will be trained on environmentally friendly techniques and technologies for fishing and management of natural resources. Public-private-producer partnerships will be supported to engage those involved in deep-sea fishing and reduce post-harvest losses.
Participants in the project will be able to access affordable financial services from the Smallholder Credit Guarantee Scheme initially funded by IFAD through Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF).
To implement this new project, IFAD is providing a US$58.8 million loan. In addition, the Government of Tanzania is providing US$7.7 million, with a further US$8.4 million from the private sector and US$2.4 million from the beneficiaries themselves.
Since 1978, IFAD has financed 16 rural development programmes and projects in the United Republic of Tanzania for a total cost of US$917.0 million, with an IFAD investment of US$402.5 million, directly benefiting more than 4 million rural households.