The Vision of the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives is as stipulated in the following statement:
Nucleus for providing policy guidance and services to a modernized, commercialized, competitive and effective agriculture and cooperative systems by 2025
To deliver quality agricultural and cooperative services, provide conducive environment to stakeholders, build capacity of Local Government Authorities and facilitate the private sector to contribute effectively to sustainable agricultural production, productivity and cooperative development. The MAFC will fulfill this by:
- Formulating, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of relevant policies in the agricultural sector and monitoring crop regulating institutions,
- Collaborating with the private sector, local government and other service providers along the value chains to provide relevant technical services in research, extension, irrigation, plant protection, crop promotion, land use, mechanization, agricultural inputs, information services and cooperative development
- Undertaking risk managment, maintaining strategic food reserves and promoting appropriate post harvest technologies, and
- Encouraging, undertaking and coordinating research and development and training.
The Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) has set strategies and priority areas for interventions to ensure increased and profitable agricultural production. Such strategies include the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) which is a national programme using a sector-wide approach and framework to stimulate and push development in the agriculture sector. Priority areas are irrigation, rural infrastructure, mechanization, research and development, farm inputs and renewable natural resources. Human resource capacity building has to go along with these interventions in order to realize the desired outcomes.
One of the clear intervention is to provide training that produces competent and sufficient numbers of agricultural extension workers who upon employment (including self employment) support efforts by farmers and other stakeholders to increase agricultural productivity and profitability.
The institutional set up of Agricultural Extension in the country has gone numerous changes over the years since independence. In 1997 extension services underwent a major decentralization reform whereby all responsibilities for implementing the services were devolved to the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) leaving the Agricultural Sector Lead Ministries (ASLM) to deal with research, extension and training, policy issues, information service, regulatory functions, protection of environment and provision of enabling environment for private sector participation in the agricultural industry. Consequently, in 1999 technical staffs that are responsible for delivery of agricultural extension services were redeployed to District Councils (DCs) where they are answerable to the immediate beneficiaries of their services so as to impact on agricultural performance.
The Agricultural Extension reform focused on increasing manning levels, involvement of private sector in extension delivery, establishment of Zonal Information Extension Liason Units (ZIELU), use of participatory extension approaches and decentralization of extension services so that farmers are more empowered and organized to mobilize resources to undertake different agricultural enterprises. The value addition and agricultural marketing is the most focus of extension service through Farmer Field School (FFS) and Producer groups.
The agricultural extension approach in Tanzania is demand-driven, involving farmers’ groups in the planning and implementation process, integrating among different extension providers both public and private, and allowing room for pluralistic extension approaches. In this respect an important component of the extension effort is directed at empowering farmers organizationally and financially, so that they identify and analyse their agricultural problems, and gives the right decisions on matters pertaining to profitable and sustainable agriculture.
Farmer Field School at Mangopachanne village Mtwara District