As Demand for organically grown food keeps growing, Tanzania is finalizing the national strategy for organic farming and food production, whose document is expected to ship from June 2023.
The country, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has been drafting a special strategy for the improvement of performance of organic agriculture and production of organic foods across the country.
The ‘National Ecological Organic Agriculture Strategy’ will be an eight-year initiative coordinated by the ministry of agriculture to create awareness over organic agriculture, producing the blueprint to that effect.
This new development comes at a time when the entire global population is slowly but surely adopting organic methods of food production and certification.
Described to be a holistic food production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, organic farming also addresses biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activities.
Organic food produce will from now henceforth be grown under certified farm management systems employing land husbandry techniques and biological manual methods instead of synthesis inputs.
The new farming strategy ensures that the country promotes both, conventional and organic farming among local farmers, creating a wider food growing field which provides people with the option to choose between organically grown or conventionally produced crops.
Revelian Ngaiza is the Chairperson of the ‘National Ecological Organic Agriculture Strategy’ who also serves as the Policy Advisor and National Coordinator for the Youth Involvement in Agriculture.
“The new development is not meant to eradicate conventional farming, but to add value to the country’s agricultural sector which now becomes a hybrid undertaking involving both the contemporary and organic methods of food production,” explains Ngaiza.
“Prior to coming up with the strategy, we conducted surveys in all agricultural zones including Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma, Njombe, Mbeya, Songwe, Singida, Simiyu, Mwanza, Tabora, Katavi, Kigoma, Kagera, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.”
“The survey discovered that more than 80 percent of farmers in Tanzania practice organic farming but most of them implement it poorly,” says Ngaiza.
He added that through the soon to be deployed national strategy, farmers and peasants across the nation will be taught proper ways of going about the trade for bumper yields.
The survey also reveals that organic foods are in high demand in hospitals especially among patients suffering cancer complications, diabetes and other ailments.
Organic foods are also needed in high end hotels and tourist lodges but so far the supply is on the lower end.
“Some big supermarkets, especially in Dar es Salaam stock few packages of locally produced organic foods, these are not enough to satisfy demand, and thus owners are forced to start importing more consignments.”
As it happens, Tanzania lags behind other countries within the East African and the Southern African Development Community when it comes to adaptation of organic agriculture
In implementing the soon to be launched organic food strategy a number of institutions and ministries will be involved.
These include the Livestock Ministry, the Prime minister’s Office (regional administration and local government), Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI), the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) as well as state-owned agricultural and seeds institutes.