WHERE WE WORK
Start Year: 1988
End Year: 2004
Country Program Director/Coordinator: Dr Marco Quinones (1988-1993); Dr Abu-Michael Foster (1993-1998; Dr Marco Quiñones, (1999-2004).
History and Primary Activities:
The SG 2000 Program in Tanzania began in association with the national Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Cooperatives, often referred to as Kilimo, which means "agriculture" in Swahili. As a joint collaboration with the ministry, the Program was called "Kilimo/SG 2000" or "KSG 2000". It operated in six regions: Arusha, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mara, Mybeya and Rukwa.
Management Training Plots – The KSG 2000 Program featured the use of Management Training Plots (MTPs) to reach and teach smallholder farmers. These MTPs were each about a half-hectare in size, as big in fact as most farmers' fields in region. Between 1988 and 1998, smallholder farmers grew about 41,000 MTPs and around 1,000 (20% of the total) of the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension workers were trained in the recommended crop management practices. The Kilimo staff, in turn, trained about 400,000 smallholder farmers. Training was delivered to MTP “clusters” made up of a local farmer and ten neighbors that closely monitored progress. Rural primary schools were also incorporated in the program, and by 1991 more than 120 schools had an MTP on their grounds.
Maize accounted for about two-thirds of the total number of MTPs. Average MTP maize yields ranged from 4 to 5 t/ha – compared to a national average yield of around 1.3 t/ha when the Program began. Several thousand MTPs of sorghum, pigeon pea, and other legumes were grown, again producing yields significantly higher than those obtained with traditional farming methods.
The first three years of the MTP program were an unqualified success. The total number of MTPs expanded rapidly, surpassing 10,000 plots in 1990/91. Farmers who participated in the MTPs received loans covering the entire cost of the inputs recommended. During the first three years, loan recovery was high, in part because the total numbers were manageable and because of generally good rainfall patterns in the highlands led to very high yields.
As the program expanded, SG 2000 realized that village extension workers were handling perilously large sums of money and were burdened with keeping track of which borrowers had repaid their loans and which had not. The distasteful task of collecting overdue loans hindered efforts to build rapport between extension workers and farmers. In 1991/92, the MTP program grew to 15,000 plots in six regions, and also coincided with the first of three consecutive seasons of poor rainfall conditions (1992- 94).
Worrisome levels of loan default, which had become apparent in some regions by the 1990/91 season, worsened in 1991/92 and 1992/93. In response, SG 2000 staff cut back on the number of MTPs and introduced a scheme by which farmers had to pay 50% in advance and could only stay a maximum of two years in the MTP scheme (for a particular technology) before being “graduated”. Some farmers, when they knew they would not be eligible for another input loan in the third year, decided to default in the second year.
Post-harvest handling – As yields rose, the KSG 2000 Program began to focus on improving post-harvest handling and storage. KSG 2000 assistance included financial support for in-service training of frontline extension staff in recommended post-harvest practices, such as improved grain storage, both on the farm and also in communal storehouses. Traditional grain storage structures (large woven baskets) were improved by surfacing the baskets in cement and raising them off the ground on a platform that protected against damage by rats, insects, and molds. Companion drying patios, usually around 50 m2, were also demonstrated.
In the Arusha region, a grain inventory credit (“warrantage”) pilot project was introduced in 1992, in collaboration with TechnoServe. At several locations, organized farmer groups were linked to credit institutions that provided credit against grain held by the associations in bonded warehouses. These inventory loans were repaid as the grain was sold over a 3-6 month period following harvest, when market prices are normally higher. This inventory credit pilot scheme was discontinued after several years, for two principal reasons. One was that the SAA Board did not want SG 2000 country projects getting involved in credit programs because of past default problems in other project countries. The other was because collective action at the warehouse proved difficult to sustain, in part because of the Ujamaa (forced collectivization) legacy from the Nyerere period of government. Farmers proved wary of depositing their grain in a communal site, especially where government officials were involved.
Animal traction – In non-tsetse fly areas, a considerable number of farmers till their fields using oxen. However, the use of draft animals is unsophisticated. Typically, plowing requires two people – one to guide the oxen and another to handle the plow. In 1993, SG 2000 set out to improve this situation through the introduction of better implements and training of farmers to boost productivity. Over the next four years, SG 2000 established 50 animal traction centers to teach farmers better tillage methods. Each center was a simple shed in which improved plows and other equipment were stored, and then carted by oxen to the field when a training session was scheduled. Ten farmers and their oxen received training in each session, and more than 1,000 farmers were trained. These sessions also allowed SG 2000 to introduce farmers to laborsaving implements, such as improved plows and weeders. Distribution of equipment occurred through other NGOs (mainly church groups), private agro-dealers and the FAO-supported Special Project for Food Security. Ministry of Agriculture staff continued to provide training to farmers for single-operator plowing.
Input Supply – By the 1993/94 season, SG 2000 ended the practice of providing credit to farmers participating in the MTPs. Instead, to help ensure that inputs were commercially available to farmers, SG 2000 launched a guarantee scheme, called the Joint Inventory Guarantee Scheme (JIGS), which was intended to build up an incipient input-supply market by fostering routine business transactions among fertilizer and seed companies, input dealers (rural shopkeepers) and farmers. Under this program, SG 2000 provided loan guarantees to 100 registered village agro-dealers so that they could obtain fertilizer on partial credit from larger fertilizer wholesalers – the Tanzanian Farmers Association (TFA), a large agro-service cooperative; and the Tanzanian Fertilizer Company. SG 2000 offered these companies a guarantee of half the cost of a fertilizer shipment – usually 10 tons of product – to a registered village input dealer. When the agro-dealer paid off the first purchase, SG 2000 guaranteed half the cost of the next shipment. The guarantee applied to a maximum of 30 tons per registered agro-dealer per year.
Through this program, the fertilizer importer and SG 2000 shared the risk of testing the business acumen of the small entrepreneurs in rural areas. At the peak, registered agro- dealers sold more than 3,000 tons of fertilizer to neighboring farmers. The SG 2000 guarantees, which were to last a minimum of two years, helped kick-start and extend the delivery of inputs to smallholder farmers. The hypothesis was that, after several years of successful inactions between the supplier and the agro-dealer, there would be a basis for establishing normal credit relations.
Only two defaults requiring SG 2000 to cover its guarantee occurred during the first two years of operations. Nevertheless JIGS ended in 1998 with the departure of the SG 2000 field program. It is interesting to speculate whether the JIGS program would have continued, had it been given time to mature. Without the SG 2000 guarantee, the risk of default issue was certainly an issue with the fertilizer suppliers. Perhaps more important was the fact that the larger fertilizer importers and wholesalers were themselves so short of capital that they found it difficult to finance sales of fertilizer on credit. They simply did not have the capital to grow their businesses into remote rural areas, or the overall market.
SAFE Program – The SAFE program was launched at Sokoine University in 1998. The SAFE-Sokoine program has completed 12 full cycles in Nov. 2010 with 500 graduates in total. The program still continues at the university and the number of students enrolled has exceeded 700 in 2010.
KSG 2000 Phase Two – In 1996, the KSG 2000 Program in Tanzania entered Phase Two, which involved much fuller management integration within the Ministry of Agriculture. The focus of the Program also shifted from large-scale demonstrations to more generalized support for extension service delivery and smallholder farmers. SG 2000’s contributions were reduced to technical support.
In 1998, Marco Quinoñes, the original SG 2000 director in Tanzania and stationed in Ethiopia since 1993, was reassigned responsibility for the SG 2000 Tanzanian program. Since the field program had been closed, Quiñones shifted his focus to a policy advisory role. By 2000, he was actively engaged with Ministry of Agriculture and World Bank officials in developing a project to assist smallholder farmers to restore degraded soil resources and accelerate agricultural productivity growth.
One key challenge was how to move agricultural intensification higher up on Tanzania’s development agenda. This formed the basis of discussions between Dr Borlaug and the then Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye and his principal advisors. It was felt at the time that Tanzania had enormous potential for intensifying agricultural production, and that if existing policy impediments to improving soil fertility, delivering needed inputs, and improving market access were removed, agriculture would move forward rapidly.
Development of SOFRAIP – The government’s response to the soil fertility problem was to establish the Soil Fertility Recapitalization and Agricultural Intensification Project (SOFRAIP). SG 2000 remained committed to helping improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, and the technical core of SOFRAIP was developed by SG 2000 staff, at the request of the Tanzanian government and with the approval of the World Bank.
SOFRAIP, with a total budget exceeding US$ 90 million over 4 years, reflected a new determination by the government to overcome food insecurity and reduce poverty. Yet food imports in 1998 were estimated at 700,000 tons of maize, 28,000 tons of wheat, and 22,000 tons of beans. There were also mixed results in the 1998/99 crop season. The highlands enjoyed good harvests, but the lowlands experienced drought, and overall Tanzania was unable to produce enough food to meet national needs. The government was very concerned about the future food-security outlook - a result of the failure of the rains.
The advent of PADEP – SOFRAIP was expected to be fully operational by mid-2002, but the project was transformed into PADEP (the Participatory Agricultural Development and Empowerment Project), which became operational in mid-2003. In 2002, 16 districts were selected as pilot areas for implementing PADEP, and in October and November of that year, intensive hands-on training was carried out with extension staff and farmers in preparation for the planting season. SG 2000 actively participated in the delivery of these training activities.
Dr Wayne Haag, former SAA QPM Co-ordinator for Africa, assisting a QPM farmer from Mshewe in Mbeya, Tanzania.
As part of this training, QPM varieties and hybrids were introduced. Another aspect was the introduction of Chinese water harvesting and drip irrigation technologies. SG 2000 was asked to stay active in the PADEP project, once it was approved by the World Bank, including pilot testing of new crop technology alternatives and assisting in field supervision to ensure effective demonstration of the technologies selected by farmers’ groups.
PADEP was implemented in 26 districts of mainland Tanzania and on the island of Zanzibar. The project’s target was to reach an estimated 500,000 smallholder farmers in about 840 villages. During the 2002/03 crop season, SG 2000 continued to demonstrate soil fertility restoration technologies and began demonstrations of QPM. However, by 2004 it became clear that SG 2000 support was more urgently needed elsewhere, and the Tanzanian Program was brought to a close.
The KSG 2000 Program had a significant impact on maize yields among many farmers who participated in the MTP program. The farmers who were originally involved in the MTPs had to come to grips with the reality of paying for the full cost of their inputs once they graduated from the Program, and they did so by adjusting the use of inputs to a level they could afford and still make a profit. Fertilizer was certainly being used at a lower level, as were other chemical inputs. The uptake of fertilizer at the farm level was restricted by its exorbitant cost following the removal of government subsidies, rather than because of any lack of availability. QPM, by the end of the program, was being grown on 5,000 hectares.
Tanzania’s post-harvest program became a regional showpiece, with extension staff visiting from Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia to learn about the practical implementation of various post-harvest practices.
Extension professionals involved in the KSG 2000 Program gained considerable technical knowledge and credibility among participating farmers. A number of them were also able to strengthen their credentials through SAFE training at Sokoine University, a program that still continues.
And while the government did not give the emphasis advocated by Dr Borlaug to building agro-dealerships and networks of agro-dealers to improve the cost-effective delivery of inputs, those that stayed the course without much support witnessed significant improvements in their business. The concept of a network of private sector agro-dealers took root, and is flourishing today.