Partners of CSA capacity building project deliberate on sustainability and scaling up
The Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security project met with partners in preparation for its fourth and last year. The meeting’s objective was to share updates and deliberate on final-year activities and how best to ensure the sustainability of project outputs.
The project meeting, which took place at the IITA Eastern Africa Hub in Dar es salaam, brought together partners from across Tanzania. Local government partners from the nine districts that the project is working in and principal project partner officials from the Ministry of Agriculture (MA) from the mainland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries (MANLF) from Zanzibar all participated.
“Climate change is real. We need to work even harder to support farmers to cope with the threats to their food security and incomes due to climate change. The project has laid a good foundation, and it is our wish to see the work continuing,” said Catherine Njuguna, the project’s focal point from IITA.
Eveline Kagoma, a Senior Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, reiterated this. She noted that the project had invested a lot in the project districts to build extension officers’ capacity to select and demonstrate climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and technologies suitable for different agroecological zones.
“A lot of investment has been made by this project, and let not let all that be in vain. Let’s explore ways to sustain the initiatives of this project for the benefit of supporting the smallholder farmers cope with climate change,” Kagoma said.
Sharing on the project’s successes, Fidelis Myaka, Project Field Manager, noted the project had established 15 demonstration plots in nine districts in both the mainland and Zanzibar at the beginning. Still, two had failed due to various reasons leaving the project with 13 demonstration plots. In the second year, the demonstration plots had converted to Farmer Field Schools, where farmers participated in all operations of the demonstration plots.
“In Year 4, we will hand over the day-to-day management of the demonstration plots and Farmer Field Schools to the districts with technical backstopping as we prepare them to take over the sites wholly,” said Myaka.
At the end of the meeting, the nine districts had prepared their activity plans for the final year and the resources they will contribute, and the support they will need from the project as part of the transition.
“The modalities put in place by the project are feasible because we are now capable of leading in demonstrating and building farmers for implementing CSA. We can start negotiating with the local government management levels for support after the project exits,” assured Maria Maige, the Village Agricultural Extension Officer from Mvomero District.
“We have shared our thoughts on the modalities for the project’s sustainability, but for the handing over to be effective, I suggest that the project management team officially hands over the recommendations and the plans to the local governments. We will need support from respective leaders to work on these modalities for the activities to be sustainable,” emphasized Talib Ramadhan, the District Agriculture and Development Officer from Zanzibar South.
The project is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the government of Tanzania to strengthen agricultural resilience in the country to climate change. Other partners include the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).