Experts discuss national roadmap to transform agrifood system

MINISTRY of Agriculture experts, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations representatives and partners met in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday to discuss the follow-up to the national roadmap to transform agrifood systems.

The meeting is a series of national and local dialogues on food systems from 2021 that brought about a renewed outlook into strategic action pathways needed to build sustainable food systems.

According to the Director of Food Security Analysis System in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Honest Kessy, the meeting was a technical working session to discuss how to take forward national pathways to food systems that are sustainable and equitable.

The session was also aimed at discussing efficient engagement of the private sector to prepare an action plan and monitoring and evaluation framework for agricultural and food systems transformation in Tanzania.

“Through our Implementation and Sustainability Plan, to be developed together with FAO, UN and our other partners, we are taking our transformation food systems development forward with an effective monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure impact for all Tanzanians,” said Dr Kessy who is also the national convenor of food systems at the ministry.

With FAO support, other UN agencies and partners, the government and other national and local actors came up with the pathways and the roadmap to transform agrifood systems in Tanzania.

The National Roadmap calls for the preparation of an action plan and monitoring and evaluation framework for the implementation of the outcomes of the dialogues.

Tanzania will host Africa’s Food Systems Forum in 2023 and the decision to host the forum has given impetus to efforts to transform agrifood systems through sustainable development.

The Forum is expected to be held in September in Dar es Salaam, following two previous annual editions aligned with the global United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York in 2021 and Dakar Summit early this year.

“The result of the Dakar summit where the president of the United Republic of Tanzania Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan actively participated and set a precedent in changing the narrative of Food Systems transformation and investment in our country,” said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Gerald Mweli.

FAO Country Representative, Dr Nyabenyi Tipo hailed Tanzania for a decision to host the Africa Food Systems Forum noting it would a premier platform for advancing the agriculture and food systems agenda on the continent from food security to agri-food investments.

“I would like to express my greatest compliments to Tanzania for preparing to host Africa’s Food System Forum 2023. This will be an imperative and unique opportunity to mobolise the country and all of Africa on the transformation change needed in our food systems,” she said.

The Coordinator of Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) II in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Salim Nandonde said they were looking also for planning indicators for improved food security and health, including increased availability of legumes, protein and other nutritious foods as we improve food systems transformation in the country.

He said malnutrition and stunting of children were serious problem, affecting even the regions considered national food baskets, such as Iringa, Rukwa, Ruvuma and Mbeya.

He said malnutrition and stunting in the regions which lead in food production suggest there was serious protein deficiency despite abundance of food.

“Under ASDP, we are looking also for planning indicators for improved food security and health, including increased availability of legumes, protein and other nutritious foods as we improve food systems transformation in the country.

“The office of Prime Minister will join hands with partners to move this forward and look forward to more and better investments and returns under ASDP 2,” he said.

Speaking during the launch of Uhuru Torch Race at national level in Mtwara over the weekend, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed 12 regional commissioners to take deliberate actions to address high prevalence rate of stunting in their respective areas.

The regions with highest prevalence of stunting above national rate include Iringa (56.9pc), Njombe (50.4), Rukwa (49.8), Geita (38.6), Ruvuma (35.6), Kagera (34.3), Simiyu (33.2), Tabora (33.1), Katavi (32.2), Manyara (32), Songwe (31.9) and Mbeya (31.5).The Deputy Permanent Secretary, Second Vice-President’s Office in Zanzibar, Dr Salhina Mwita Ameir, said the dialogues had come at the most opportune time when population rapidly increases, meaning there will increased demand for food.

“It is very important to talk about food systems transformation in Zanzibar because the land area is small but population increases rapidly…We are about two million now and the land remains the same.

“We stand ready to co-ordinate and support the needed integrated planning across multiple sectors in Zanzibar and look forward to the next steps for food systems development,” she said.

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