The future of smallholder farmer support in Tanzania: Where to after the National Agricultural Input Voucher System (NAIVS)?

A publication by the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) titled The Future of smallholder farmer support in Tanzania: Where to after the National Agricultural Input Voucher System (NAIVS)? discusses farm input subsidies in Tanzania and their impacts on smallholder farmers. The report examines the history of farm input subsidy programmes (FISPs) in the country, with a focus on the NAIVS, a large-scale subsidy programme funded by the World Bank which ran from 2009 to 2014. Input subsidies form part of a wider Green Revolution approach that seeks to commercialise African agriculture through economies of scale and smallholder integration into corporate value chains.

The NAIVS was the largest component of the Accelerated Food Security Programme (AFSP), negotiated between the government of Tanzania and the World Bank and launched in 2009. A huge budget was directed to the NAIVS, with the programme receiving between US$60-100 million per year. NAIVS was introduced to rapidly increase food production due to the 2007/08 global food crisis in the short-term, and in the longer term to develop commercial value chains for inputs.

Vouchers are the basic premise of the NAIVS for access to Green Revolution inputs (especially hybrid and improved seed and synthetic fertiliser) at a subsidised price. Farmers must make a contribution of their own to receive public support through the programme. This favours wealthier farmers, in line with the commercialization strategy. Export-oriented strategies determine the choice of inputs to be provided, bypassing resource-poor and remote smallholders.

Despite some productivity increases in the two main crops NAIVS focused on – rice and maize - the subsidy programme has proven inadequate to provide farmers with the support needed to graduate out of the programme and sustain production. Government was unable to support the programme after external funding came to an end, placing in peril many farmers who had become dependent on the subsidized inputs.

The programme was mired in challenges due to high costs, limited impact on poverty and livelihoods, high inefficiencies, political and elite patronage and corruption, corporate capture of the agricultural input value chain and distortion of agricultural markets. These serious concerns with FISPs have been widely documented in different African countries.

The main beneficiaries of Green Revolution subsidy programmes are the large commercial seed and fertiliser companies who are handed a guaranteed market for their products, subsidized by the state. More broadly, the Green Revolution approach has long-term negative implications of reducing agricultural biodiversity and poses threats to ecological and soil health.

Smallholder farmers certainly do need support to solve their diverse and interrelated challenges in very difficult production conditions. However, it is questionable whether huge allocations of public funding should be directed towards a narrow set of externally provided inputs that are not appropriate for most farmers. It may be time to consider diversification and strengthening other forms of support for smallholder farmers that are less reliant on costly and unsustainable external inputs. Traditional and agroecological farming practices can form the basis for alternative types of public support.

 

Mustakabali wa misaada kwa wakulima wadogo nchini Tanzania: Tunaelekea wapi baada ya Mfumo wa Kitaifa wa Vocha za Pembejeo ya ruzuku?

Chapisho la Kituo cha Afrika cha Bionuwai (ACB) lenye kichwa Mustakabali wa misaada kwa wakulima wadogo nchini Tanzania: Tunaelekea wapi baada ya Mfumo wa kitaifa wa Vocha za Pembejeo ya ruzuku?  linalojadili mfumo wa pembejeo za ruzuku Tanzania na athari kwa wakulima wadogo. Ripoti hii inadadisi kwa kina historia ya program za ruzuku za pembejeo nchini, ikijikita kwenye Mfumo wa Kitaifa wa Vocha za Pembejeo za Ruzuku, program kubwa, iliyofadhiliwa na Benki ya dunia kutoka mwaka 2009 hadi 2014. Pembejeo za ruzuku ni sehemu ya mbinu za mapinduzi ya kijani, njia zinazolenga kugeuza kilimo barani Afrika kuwa cha kibiashara kupitia kufanya uchumi mpana na kuwajumuisha wakulima wadogo katika mnyororo wa thamani wa mashirika ya kibiashara.  

Mfumo wa kitaifa wa vocha za pembejeo za ruzuku ulikuwa ni sehemu kubwa ya programu ya kuharakisha usalama wa chakula (AFSP), kufuatia majadiliano kati ya Serikali ya Tanzania na Benki ya Dunia na kuzinduliwa rasmi mwaka 2009. Sehemu kubwa ya bajeti ilielekezwa kwenye Mfumo wa Kitaifa wa Vocha za Pembejeo za Ruzuku.  Ambapo kiasi cha dola milioni 60 hadi 100 zilitolewa kwa mwaka. Lengo la muda mfupi la Mfumo wa Kitaifa wa Vocha za Pembejeo za Ruzuku lilikuwa ni  kuongeza kwa kasi, uzalishaji wa chakula kutokana na upungufu wa chakula uliojitokeza mwaka 2007/2008, huku lengo la muda mrefu likiwa ni kuendeleza mnyororo wa kibiashara wa pembejeo.

Vocha ilikuwa ndio msingi wa kupata pembejeo za mageuzi ya kijani kibichi (hasa mbegu chotara na zilizoboreshwa pamoja na mbolea ya viwandani) kwa bei ya ruzuku. Ili waweze kupata msaada kupitia mradi wakulima wanapaswa kuchangia. Utaratibu huu unaelekea kuwabeba zaidi wakulima wenye uwezo wa kifedha, sambamba na mkakati wa kibiashara. Mikakati ya masoko ya nje ndio ambayo inayoamua aina za pembejeo zitakazotolewa, zikiwatenga/kuwaruka wakulima maskini na walioko pembezoni.

Ingawa kulikuwa na ongezeko kiasi katika uzalishaji wa mahindi na mpunga katika kipindi cha mradi, mazao makuu mawili ambayo mradi ulijikita , mpango wa ruzuku umethibitika kushindwa kutoa msaada unaohitajika kujikwamua kutoka katika kutegemea mradi na uzalishaji endelevu. Serikali ilishindwa kugharamia mradi baada ya kumalizika ufadhili kutoka nje hivyo kuwaweka kwenye hatari wakulima wengi ambao wamekuwa wategemezi kwenye pembejeo za ruzuku.

Program ilikwamishwa na changamoto za gharama kubwa, matokeo hafifu kwenye umasikini na shughuli za kiuchumi, kukosa ufanisi, kuingiliwa na viongozi wa kisiasa na rushwa, kuvamiwa kwa mnyororo wa thamani na makampuni ya kibiashara pamoja na kuvurugwa kwa masoko ya kilimo.  Wasiwasi kuhusu program za ruzuku za pembejeo za kilimo umeandikwa kwa sana katika nchi mbalimbali barani Afrika.

Makampuni makubwa wazalishaji wa mbegu za kibiashara na mbolea ndio wafaidika wakuu wa program za ruzuku za mapinduzi ya kijani ambao hupatiwa soko la uhakika la bidhaa zao kwa ruzuku za serikali. Kwa mapana yake mbinu inayotumiwa kuleta mapinduzi ya kijani ina madhara ya muda mrefu kutokana kupunguza bioanuai ya kilimo na kuhatarisha ekolojia na afya ya udongo.

Ni dhahiri kuwa wakulima wadogo wanahitaji kusaidiwa kutatua changamoto zinazowakabili katika mazingira magumu ya uzalishaji. Lakini ni jambo la kujiuliza iwapo kiwango kikubwa cha fedha za umma kinachotengwa kielekezwe kwenye kundi dogo la pembejeo kutoka nje ambazo sio sahihi kwa wazalisha wengi. Inawezakana huu ni wakati sahihi kuangalia maeneo mengine na kuimarisha njia tofauti za kuwasaidia wakulima wadogo zisizo za gharama wala tegemezi kwa pembejeo kutoka nje. Mbinu za kilimo za asili na kiekolojia zinaweza kuwa msingi wa msaada mbadala wa serikali kwa wakulima.