About the Tanzania Country Platform

Prolinnova-Tanzania started in 2005 and is currently hosted by PELUM-Tanzania. It aims to build the capacity of network members and partners in Participatory Innovation Development (PID), create a platform for documentation and communication about farmer innovation and farmer-led research, and to facilitate networking of farmer innovators and other actors in agricultural innovation. Prolinnova-Tanzania members include the national farmer network MVIWATA, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Cooperative College Moshi, INADES-Tanzania and many other organisations.

PELUM-Tanzania: Coordinator of Prolinnova-Tanzania

PELUM stands for “Participatory Ecological Land Use Management”. PELUM-Tanzania is an associate member of the “PELUM Association”, which is a regional network of civil society organisations operating in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa to facilitate learning and advocacy in participatory land-use management and 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 33 member organisations and collaborates with many other partners.

The PELUM vision is that farmers, men and women, especially smallholders, manage their environment sustainably and are able to identify problems, 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 communication and training skills for empowering farmer groups, supports members in fundraising and organises action-learning processes. PELUM gives high priority to gender issues. PELUM-Tanzania supports documentation and communication to capitalise experiences and disseminate them in the network. It also engages in advocacy with and for farmer organisations and development organisations to influence Government, donors and NGOs on development issues and policies based on joint analysis by farmers and other organisations, especially on marketing issues.

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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 contribution from the Government of the Netherlands. The Government of Tanzania, through the Vice President Office (VPO), Department of Environment, was responsible for implementing PFI, with technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation and Land-Use Planning Section (MOA-SCLUPS) as Executing Agent. INADES-Formation Tanzania, a PELUM member focusing on sustainable rural development and training, coordinated PFI, which worked with farmer innovators mostly in the dry Dodoma Region of central Tanzania.

During almost the same period, the second phase of the Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation (ISWC II) programme 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 engaged in policy dialogue at district and national level. ISWC II was organised as a partnership programme, coordinated by the Cooperative College in Moshi and closely involving Sokoine University of Agriculture, Uyole Research Station, the district governments, MVIWATA and several NGOs.

In March 2004, the late Fr. Yves Marché, who was Country Representative for PELUM-Tanzania, took part in the Prolinnova International Partners Workshop in Ethiopia where he shared the Tanzanian experiences in promoting local innovation for sustainable agriculture. PELUM-Tanzania then took the initiative with support from ETC Foundation in the Netherlands to develop a Prolinnova-Tanzania multistakeholder platform and mobilised 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 organisation, and (until 2010) the Netherlands Government through ETC Foundation. 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 their 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 regard to the first challenge, 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 regard to different fields (e.g. ecology, agriculture, medicine, chemistry and biology).

As Prolinnova aims to enhance the skills of farmers, development practitioners and other stakeholders and encourages local innovation processes 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 focus on managing sustainably the existing natural resources to improve the livelihoods of local people.

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Objectives of Prolinnova-Tanzania

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 an enabling environment for institutionalising of PID building on local knowledge and 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 a core facilitating team responsible for day-to-day implementation of the activities: Zacharia Malley, retired researcher and CP coordinator; Patrick Lameck from INADES Formation Tanzania; Innocent Babili from Sokoine University of Agriculture – Institute of Continued Education (SUA-ICE); and Donati Alex Senzia, Country Desk Coordinator of PELUM-Tanzania and Biosafety Project Officer (PELUM-Tanzania). Previous Prolinnova-Tanzania coordinators were Laurent Kabirire and Patrick Lameck.

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

  1. Donati Alex Senzia, Country Desk Coordinator, PELUM–Tanzania – NSC Secretary
  2. Eligy Shirima, Director, Tanzania National Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI)
  3. Laurent Kaburire, independent advisor
  4. Raphael Chinolo, farmer innovator
  5. Salim Banda, Head, Agriculture Engineering Department, Sokoine University of Agriculture
  6. Simon Mwangonda, Director, Integrated Rural Development Organisation (IRDO) – NSC Chair
  7. (Ms) Subira Mwinyijuma, farmer innovator – NSC Deputy Chair
  8. Crops Research, Ministry of Agriculture (tbd)
  9. INADES Formation Tanzania (tbd)

   Zacharia Malley, CP Coordinator, ex-officio member (malley.zacharia@gmail.com)


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

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Some activities implemented to date

Since its inception in 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
  • Patrick Lameck and Innocent Babili attended tTraining of Trainers on PID in Manila, Philippines
  • Organising a sensitisation workshop on Prolinnova and Biosafety for member organisations, where potential stakeholders for implementation were identified
  • Mobilising resources for smooth implementation of Prolinnova-Tanzania activities
  • Organising and facilitating orientation and planning workshop for Prolinnova-Tanzania held in Kibaha, Pwani Region in November 2005
  • Election of Prolinnova National Steering Committee made up of representatives from different institutions
  • Piloting community-managed Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs) funded by Rockefeller Foundation
  • Combining Local Innovation with Scientific Research (CLIC-SR) to strengthen local adaptation to change, funded by Rockefeller Foundation
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