Globally, the agricultural sector is changing considering climate change. The increasing demand for food due to population growth resulted in intensive agricultural practices, including the unprecedented use of agrochemicals, livestock generation, and exploitation of water resources. Next to global climate change effects, these issues lead to the degradation of agricultural capacity, and the health of natural resources. Climate change impacts on agriculture refer to an increased frequency of dry spells and drought, changes in precipitation patterns, increased intensity of extreme weather events, rising temperatures, temperature variability, and rising sea levels. All these have negative effects impacts on the productivity of livestock, crops, fisheries, and poultry.
To support inclusive green growth and the ability to respond to the environmental challenges of the agriculture sector in Tanzania. The Private Agricultural Sector Support (PASS) Trust, a non-profit institution that stimulates investment and green growth in commercial agriculture and related sectors in Tanzania, aims to give farmers and investors in the agriculture value chain the technical capacity required to make smart decisions in line with the national agenda.
The ambition is to build capacity for farmers, and investors in the agriculture value chain, so they avoid initiation and investments in inefficient agribusiness models. In linking agricultural stakeholders to financial institutions PASS considers what makes economic sense from the technical and climate-smart aspects point of view. This is among the key reasons why PASS has enrolled staff in comprehensive training on climate smart agriculture (CSA). “We expect PASS staff to be able to use this knowledge to develop a new strategy. We also expect them to develop new skills and be aware of how to use knowledge in climate-smart agriculture in guaranteeing farmers and people in the agriculture value chain for loans,” shared the training facilitator Dr Lucy Ssendi, a consultant and expert in climate change and climate smart agriculture (CSA).
A worker at the Olivado Factory in Wanging’ombe District in Njombe region, which has been guaranteed an agriculture loan by PASS Trust, uses avocado waste from the primary product to perform one of the processes in the manufacturing of a secondary product.
The knowledge acquired will help PASS staff in designing agricultural finance interventions to clearly diagnose the barriers and solutions. “PASS will be able to tailor interventions to local contexts, demonstrate impact for early learning and replicability. They will also be able to identify suitable partners early enough.”
The government of the United Republic of Tanzania has developed several policies and strategies. One of the overarching strategies is the National Climate Change Response Strategy which was prepared by the Office of the Vice-President in 2012 and was reviewed in 2021. It gives directives and guidelines on what sectors can do. In the agriculture sector, there are interventions that are being advised and this is what we have proposed to PASS to consider because it will show that the projects which are being approved are in line with the government priorities, she offered. “We now have a point of reference from the government, we only have to ensure that the approved projects are in line with these policies and obligations.”
A worker at the Mwani Zanzibar working in the cultivation of a seaweed crop. PASS Trust has provided an agribusiness loan guarantee for this project.
The Ministry of Agriculture has also developed several strategies. They include the Agriculture Climate Resilience Plan and the Climate-smart Agriculture National Guideline. Besides, the government has also set aside funds to implement climate-smart agriculture (CSA) projects and initiatives in the country. Much of the money is going to irrigation schemes, infrastructure development has also improved. We expect that within the next one year the impact of these efforts by the government will be felt, noted Dr Ssendi.
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is the type of agriculture which allows farmers to increase productivity and incomes while at the same time become more resilient to climate change and be able to reduce greenhouse gases. “At the training, the PASS team has been able to understand climate change and climate smart agriculture, international and policies at the national level and how these two are inter-related for supporting our own local policies, strategies and guidelines,” Dr Ssendi observed.
Farmers have a way of knowing the impact of climate change and what they should do to cope with the impacts of climate change. What they lack is the technologies to cope with climate change. “At the training we ask the experts to come to a level where they have to communicate in the farmer’s language, so that they can understand the various ways in which the farmers have been affected by climate change and the technologies that they are using,” Dr Ssendi shared. This way, experts can be able to complement with the climate-smart solutions what they have learnt from elsewhere and through research.
She illustrated: “For instance, when it comes to farmer applications for loans, we have made them aware that they should now take account of climate-smart agricultural practices. If there is any deficit that they are providing they should consider climate-smart agriculture because the impact of climate change has affected production and productivity, the number of crops, livestock production systems and fish production systems. We have equipped PASS staff to relate all these and advise accordingly.”
Inclusive Green Growth is running a project in PASS, and through this project we are trying to make staff more aware of climate change effects and ways agribusinesses can contribute to sustain the environment, shared, another trainer, Freddy Baijukya of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Dar es Salaam. “We need to support climate-smart strategies that can assist farmers. Agriculture is the mainstay livelihood of many farmers, and it provides food for the rest of the population. We are talking of escalated food prices which can be linked to diminished supply. We must ensure we keep on producing food even where there is climate change,” observed Mr Baijukya.