Nanenane: Moment for agro-based institution to display their evolutionary path

BACK in the early 1960s, founder president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere made a clarion call that Tanzanians must run while other people elsewhere were walking.

More than six decades later, that same call keeps ringing again and again. It is a call which has led to the unfolding evolutionary and revolutionary paths towards a diverse, post-agrarian soci- ety.

That’s why from August 1 to 8, majority Tanzanians engaged in the country’s eco- nomic mainstay are currently marking a silent hybrid event christened NaneNane — a platform for dialogue around the many areas of farming and agricultural transforma- tion.

To be specific, the Nan- enane Agricultural Show annually marked from August 1 to 8, is a day to honour farmers and their contribution to the sector in the country. It is an important opportunity to showcase new technologies and developments in farming, improve education and high- light best practices.

A host of key public and private institutions, includ- ing the state-run Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA) year on year take part in this event to help the country achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal  to end hunger, promote sustainable agriculture, achieve food security and im- proved nutrition.

The 2023 theme for the exhibition being held at national level at the John Mwakangale Ground in Mbeya is “Vijana na Wanawake ni Msingi wa Imara wa Mfumo wa Chakula (Youth and Women are the Foundation of a Strong Food System).

The Southern Highlands region of Mbeya is one of the major grain producing areas in Tanzania bringing together Iringa, Njombe, Katavi, Rukwa, Ruvuma and Katavi in that alphabetical order. Juma Homera, the Mbeya Regional Commissioner, is happy to host the show and has already confirmed that 30 foreign countries have indicated their participation in this national event opened by Vice-President Dr. Philip Mpango, which generates continental Africa’s and global enthusiasm.

Of the foremost local institutions that have played a cardinal role in agriculture’s transformation in recent years, TFRA is no excep- tion; it is the country’s sole fertiliser regulatory body for ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of quality fertiliser and fertiliser supplements to all farmers.

This year TFRA has come up with a penetrating message to stakeholders in the industry — TUKUTANE NANENANE MBEYA (LET’S MEET AT NANENANE IN MBEYA). 8 DAILY NEWS ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 2023 LOCAL/AFRICA FEATURES This message has been ringing in echoes since last year when the government announced fertiliser subsidy to the millions of Tanzanian farmers at the same venue to attract stakeholders at home and abroad to invest in the fast-growing industry, which now seeks to redeem the all important agricultural sector.

Principally, since its in- ception in 2012, TFRA has played a stimulus role in spearheading national efforts in the successful development of agriculture’s growth through fertiliser application.

For decades since Tanzania Mainland’s independence from Britain, stagnant smallholder production and vulnerability to natural disasters and the effects of climate change have been the barri- ers to growth in the sector in enhancing national systems and adopting an integrated approach to food security.

TFRA authorities see the country’s agriculture sector, contributing nearly one third of the GDP and employing 75 per cent of the population, as having the potential to increase incomes and improve livelihoods.

It is for this reason that the fertiliser control institu- tion will take part in Nanenane celebrations coun- trywide through its zonal offices in Dodoma, Mwanza, Arusha, Mbeya and Moro- goro, according to TFRA Executive Director, Dr. Stephan Ngailo.

The focus of the celebrations is to revamp the agricultural sector by incorporating private sector engagement, including the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania initiative, a public private partnership aiming to increase agricultural business investments in the country’s southern corridor.

Overall, the benefits of improved agriculture have succeeded in pushing Tan- zania forward, and most importantly the population that started the independence race in 1961 is today radically dif- ferent from that of 2023, as eminent researcher Deborah Fahy Bryceson says on her research on “Reflections on the unravelling of the Tanzanian peasantry, 1975–2015.”

“There are still farmers to be sure, but not peasants in the classic meaning of that term. The crucial point, of ten overlooked, is that most Tanzanians are happy to be something other than peas- ants.

A peasant is seen as someone with a tradition- ally ascribed occupation and lifestyle based on hard work and lacking in the comforts and opportunity afforded by piped water, good healthcare and schools,” she says.

At the Mbeya show, some government representatives, business leaders and regional commentators convening for a one-week dialogue on resuscitating agriculture will definitely touch on such hot topics as limited productive and financial resources, weak infrastructure, long-term capital constraints to private sector investment, climate change, population explosion and its consequences to natu- ral resources, and low lev- els of capacity and business skills and policies which discourage growth, just to men- tion a few.

In summary, therefore, it is safe to quote researcher Deborah Bryceson that as Tanzanians mark the 2023 Farmers Day, “the peasantry in Tanzania is unravelling and, indeed, that a process of “depeasantisation” is under way.”

Indeed, that is a good development for agriculture which has been the bane for Tanzanian youth in the past decades who have been flooding urban centres seek- ing employment, but finally ending up as pickpockets.

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