Rather than Reflect, Tanzania Envoy Faces Future
On September 11, a day when many American diplomats participated in a ceremony or paused in solemn reflection, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso Lenhardt visited ACDI/VOCA Feed the Future (FTF) activities in Morogoro.
Located 160 miles outside of Dar es Salaam, Morogoro is where several components of the Feed the Future initiative, known as NAFAKA, have come together to benefit the 954-member Water Users Association of Dakawa District.
Ambassador Lenhardt cheerily peppered association members with questions about the training they received, the types of seeds they use, and how they plan to invest their earnings. He also toured the demonstration plot where they had been trained.
Tanzania a Potential Breadbasket
While visiting with farmer Victoria Urio, who reported a whopping 73 percent increase in rice yield, the ambassador said, “The important work you do here has the potential to feed not just Tanzania, but all of Africa; Tanzania has more than enough land and water to become a breadbasket for the region.”
Veronica and her husband, Anaeli Urio, engaged in a small experiment this year. Veronica planted rice using the training, hybrid seeds and enhanced technology she learned through Feed the Future on her 12 acres, while her husband used traditional methods on his farm of the same size. They usually get about 2.2 tons of rice per acre, but this year she reaped 3.8 while he showed zero increase. He said next season he too will apply FTF technology and training.
Pumping Station Decrepit but Hanging On
The ambassador also visited the Dakawa Pump Station, the source for the scheme’s irrigation. On seeing extensive disrepair of the original technology from the 1960s, the ambassador congratulated the farmers for keeping the few working pumps operating. He no doubt hopes they can hang on a few more months until the groundbreaking of the Feed the Future Irrigation Project, which will bring new equipment. Tanzania’s President Kikwete himself has expressed interest in attending the ceremony.
Ambassador Lenhardt returned to Dar es Salaam inspired by the work of Feed the Future and the potential for greater impact as the Initiative scales up throughout the country.
Feed the Future is Comprehensive, Flagship Effort
The FTF activities in Morogoro are under the Tanzania Staples Value Chain project also known as NAFAKA, a $30 million USAID program implemented by ACDI/VOCA that integrates agricultural, gender and nutritional development approaches to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and profitability in maize and rice. It is part of the presidential Feed the Future initiative, which harmonizes hunger- and poverty-fighting efforts in countries with chronic food insecurity and insufficient staple crop production.
For more information on NAFAKA, see http://www.acdivoca.org/site/ID/tanzania-staples-value-chain-NAFAKA.
ACDI/VOCA has long been a leader in food security and agricultural development, and is implementing Feed the Future projects in Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia as well as Tanzania.