About the Tanzania Country Platform

Prolinnova-Tanzania started in 2005. It is coordinated by PELUM-Tanzania, a network of NGOs and CBOs working in the field of sustainable agricultural development, part of the wider PELUM network in Eastern and Southern Africa. Prolinnova-Tanzania aims to build the capacity of network members and partners in Participatory Innovation Development (PID), create a platform for communication and documentation, facilitate networking of farmer innovators and facilitate advocacy work for the protection of genetic resources. Prolinnova-Tanzania partners include MVIWATA, the national farmer network, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Cooperative College Moshi, INADES-Tanzania and many other NGOs.

PELUM-Tanzania: Coordinator of Prolinnova Tanzania

PELUM stands for "Participatory Ecological Land Use Management in Tanzania". PELUM-Tanzania is an associate member of the regional network called 'PELUM Association' which is a network of civil society organisations operating in eastern, central and southern Africa to facilitate effective learning and advocacy in participatory land-use management. Members of PELUM-Tanzania have come together to facilitate learning, networking and advocacy in sustainable agriculture. We feed our experiences into a strategic process to influence rural development. PELUM-Tanzania was launched in 1995 and registered in 2002. It has presently 33 member organisations and collaborates with many other partners.

The PELUM vision is that farmers, men and women, especially smallholders, are managing sustainably their environment and have the capacity to identify problems, to experiment and innovate, using locally available resources. PELUM wants to see that farmers are well organised and have formed strong networks to promote their interests at local and national level. It builds the capacity of its members in Sustainable Agriculture, strengthens training skills for empowering farmer groups as well as communication skills, supports members in fundraising and organises action-Learning processes. PELUM gives high priority to gender policies. PELUM-Tanzania is to establish an information centre as a tool for documentation and communication to capitalise experiences and disseminate them in the network.  It is also an advocacy tool with and for Farmer Organisations and Development Organisations to influence Government, Donors and NGOs on development issues and policies based on common analysis between farmers and organisations, especially on free market mechanisms.

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 The development of  Prolinnova-Tanzania

Prolinnova-Tanzania could build on the experiences of two earlier programmes in Tanzania that worked on promoting local innovation and PID. The "Promoting Farmer Innovations" (PFI) programme in Tanzania started in 1998 and ran for three years with support from UNDP, managed by UNSO through a specific contribution from the Government of Netherlands. The Government of Tanzania, through the Vice President Office (VPO), Department of Environment, had the overall responsibility for the execution of the programme, with technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture - Soil Conservation and Land Use Planning Section (MOA-SCLUPS) as "Executing Agent". INADES-Formation Tanzania, an NGO PELUM member focusing on sustainable rural development and training, implemented the programme, which worked with farmer innovators mostly in the dry Dodoma Region of central Tanzania.

Almost in the same period, the second phase of the Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation programme (ISWC II) ran in Tanzania, mostly in the Southern Highlands. It emphasised the PID approach, provided training to extension, research and NGO staff to work with farmer innovators to develop more sustainable SWC practices and initiated policy dialogue at the district and national level. ISWC II was organised as a partnership programme, coordinated by the Cooperative College in Moshi but closely involving the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Uyole Research Station, the district governments, MIVWATA and several NGOs.

In March 2004, the late Fr. Yves Marché, who was the Country Representative for PELUM-Tanzania, participated in the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop in Ethiopia where he shared the above Tanzanian experience in promoting local innovation for sustainable agriculture. Since then, PELUM-Tanzania took the initiative with support from ETC Foundation in the Netherlands to develop a Prolinnova-Tanzania initiative and was successful in mobilising resources from various sources to operate from 1 January 2005 onwards.

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Linking local innovation and biosafety issues

One difference between Prolinnova-Tanzania and other Prolinnova Country Platforms is that Prolinnova-Tanzania’s activities are being carried out together with those of a biosafety initiative. These two initiatives have been combined to form the so-called "Promoting Local Innovation and Biosafety Project", which receives co-funding from EED, a German Protestant Church organization, and (until recently) DGIS Netherlands through ETC. In the process of setting up Prolinnova-Tanzania, farmers working with PELUM-Tanzania member organisations in various parts of the country formulated the following main long-term challenges:

  • Farmers, men and women, want to increase their ability and power to manage properly our natural resources in our environment.
  • Farmers, men and women, want to master their prices, markets, flows and exchanges.
  • Farmers, men and women, want to determine their own development policies by forming a legal and representative organisation to promote their development interests and rights.
  • Farmers, men and women, want to network, share information,  experiences and best practices on issues related to the development at community, national and international levels.

With regards to the first challenge above, the issue of Genetic Resources was singled out. As is the case in many other African countries, the genetic resources of Tanzania are threatened. Already some traditional seeds have disappeared because of the constant push for "modern" seeds produced by researchers and firms, either through natural methods (hybrids) or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMO trials are going on quietly in the country. Farmers and local communities’ rights are being threatened and Tanzania does not yet avail of legislation on biosecurity and biosafety, although a draft is being written. Advocacy on the protection of genetic resources in Tanzania is therefore needed. To address all this, a biosafety initiative was designed to prevent large-scale loss of biodiversity integrity, focusing both on ecology and human health with regards to different fields (e.g. ecology, agriculture, medicine, chemistry and exobiology).

As Prolinnova aims to enhance the skills of farmers, development practitioners and other stakeholders towards learning and encourages the development and spread of local innovation systems for improved livelihood of local people in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management, PELUM felt that a biosafety component would make a lot of sense. Both components do focus on managing sustainably the existing natural resources to improve the socio-economic livelihoods of local people.

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Objectives of Prolinnova country platform

Prolinnova-Tanzania has four overall objectives:

  • To build the capacity of PELUM-Tanzania members and partners
  • To be a platform for communication and documentation
  • To facilitate networking of farmer innovators
  • To facilitate advocacy work for the protection of genetic resources.

More specifically, Prolinnova-Tanzania wishes:

  • To establish partnership of current and potential stakeholders in the implementation of the programme
  • To build capacity of development practitioners on PID
  • To identify and spread local innovations and local technologies
  • To facilitate creation of enabling environment for institutionalisation of PID related to local innovation.

While the biosafety component even more specifically wishes:

  • To collect and analyse information on existing policies and activities, resource persons and documents related to biosafety and biosecurity in Tanzania
  • To collect information on existing African laws on the matter, especially the Model law for the protection of local community rights and the African Model Law on security in biotechnology
  • To establish a coalition with interested and concerned partners
  • To make the information collected available in Swahili version and inform public opinion and farmers on the necessity to protect Tanzania Genetic Heritage
  • To pursue advocacy work through media, debates, declarations, parliament etc.

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Prolinnova-Tanzania organisational set-up

Under the overall responsibility of PELUM-Tanzania, Prolinnova-Tanzania has formed a core facilitating team responsible for the daily implementation of the activities: Mr Patrick Lameck, the National Prolinnova Technical Advisor from INADES Formation Tanzania; Mr. Innocent Babili, the Assistant National Prolinnova Advisor from Sokoine University of Agriculture - Institute of Continued Education (SUA-ICE); and Mr. Donati Alex Senzia, the Acting Country Desk Coordinator of PELUM-Tanzania and the Biosafety Project Officer (PELUM-Tanzania).

Prolinnova-Tanzania is designed as a national partnership programme and involves key stakeholders in policy setting and implementation through the National Steering Committee. The members of the NSC and their respective organizations are as follows, as of May 2017:

1.     Donati Alex Senzia, Coordinator, PELUM–Tanzania – NSC Secretary

2.     Edwin Kilave, Director, INADES Formation Tanzania

3.     Eligy Shirima, Director, Tanzania National Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI)

4.     Husein Mansul, Assistant Director, Crops Research Ministry of Agriculture

5.     Laurent Kaburire, independent

6.     Raphael Chinolo, farmer innovator

7.     Salim Banda, Head, Agriculture Engineering Department, Sokoine University of Agriculture

8.     Simon Mwangonda, Director, Action for Development Programs (ADP) Mbozi – NSC Chair

9.     (Ms) Subira Mwinyijuma, farmer innovator – NSC Deputy Chair

Patrick Lameck, CP Coordinator, ex-officio member and Secretary to NSC (pgmlameck@yahoo.co.uk; patrick.lameck@inadesfo.net)


Participants in the Prolinnova-Tanzania National Planning Workshop, Kibaha
6–11 November 2005

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Activities implemented to date

Since its inception early 2005, various activities have been realised including:

  • Preparation of the strategic activity plans;
  • Establishment of the Core Team for Prolinnova-Tanzania;
  • Organising Core Team meetings to facilitate the process;
  • Identifying the National Technical Advisor and his Assistant for the Country Platform, being Mr Patrick Lameck INADES and Mr. Innocent Babili ICE-SUA, respectively;
  • Signing of MoU between PELUM-Tanzania and ETC;
  • Mr Patrick Lameck and Mr. Innocent Babili attended the Training of Trainers on PID/PTD in Manila, the Philippines;
  • Organising a sensitisation workshop on Prolinnova and Biosafety for member organizations, where potential stakeholders for implementation where identified (Report);
  • Establishing partnership with INADES-Formation and signing MoU between PELUM-Tanzania as the client and INADES Formation as partner to providing technical advisory services through Mr. Patrick Lameck;
  • Mobilising resources for smooth project implementation;
  • Procurement of project equipment for documentation and recruitment of Prolinnova-Tanzania project officer from 1 July 2005 (Laurent Kaburire);
  • Organising international backstopping missions by Laurens van Veldhuizen, ETC EcoCulture, to strengthen communication and exchange of ideas to ensure successful progress in Prolinnova activities; Laurens took part already in the first National Planning Workshop;
  • Organising and facilitating orientation and planning workshop for Prolinnova-Tanzania for 2006-07 held in Kibaha, Pwani Region in November 2005 (Report);
  • Election of Prolinnova National Steering Committee made of ten representatives from different institutions.

PELUM-Tanzania staff and Mr Laurens van Veldhuizen sharing ideas on Prolinnova-Tanzania during Laurens' backstopping trip in Tanzania
  5 November 2005

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