Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
Tanzania: Media Urged to Improve in Fight Against Corruption
Tanzania: Govt to Link Kiswahili Teachers to Markets Abroad
PM Abiy Discussing with Western Wellega Community
ED gets tough on violence
‘We’ll not allow indiscipline in financial sector again’
Harvest Money Expo 2019 - Final day
"Romeo and Juliet" at Opera Theatre in Tunis
Rwanda: foreign minister meets his Armenian counterpart in Munich
Mercedes executives discuss plans with Egypt president
International Policy Digest
By: Dennis Rangi
Like many of my fellow Africans, I proceed into 2019 with renewed optimism whilst knowing there is still a great deal of work ahead and progress to be made if we are to improve our welfare in a sustainable manner. We look forward to helping our continent ensure its food and nutrition security for the 1.2 billion mouths we must continue to feed.
The CABI Africa Member Governments’ Meeting in Botswana this month (25 to 28 February) is a time for reflection on past and present partnerships but it also presents a huge opportunity to look at new ways of working. I believe more can and must be done if we are to ensure our food security and protect the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers who help feed us.
The meeting will see government representatives from 22 African countries, joining delegates from 14 partner organisations – such as the African Union Commission (AUC), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) – to discuss how we can work better together to support millions of farmers to grow more and lose less to agricultural pests and diseases.
As a continent, we have around 930 million hectares of land suitable for agricultural production – an area larger than the United States – but more than half of it remains relatively inaccessible to good roads and markets. Africa has a wealth of untapped resources but a fragile infrastructure and challenging physical and political climates.
There are many aspects to tackling food security which include an often-overlooked need to strengthen the food value chain and trade links through better Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) processes. Without these, we cannot hope to improve plant health and food safety. Food may need to come from a pest/disease free area, or require in-depth inspection or specific treatment or processing to ensure only safe levels of chemicals in the food – protecting both producer and the consumer. The rigorous application of such international SPS standards ensures the production, processing, and trade of safe, high-quality food. As a result, agricultural productivity will increase, value will be added to our goods, rural economies will be diversified and smallholder household incomes farmers will be assured and increased.
The World Trade Organisation SPS Agreement sets out basic rules for the use of SPS measures, which are certainly needed to ensure trade is safe, but often a lack of information, knowledge or institutional capacity results in an inability for countries to reduce hazards and consequently to improve their access to lucrative markets. In some cases, countries have implied the phytosanitary threats have been mistakenly overestimated, creating (un)intentional trade barriers. In other cases, the risks are clear but there is the inadequate ability in the value chains to manage and mitigate them. Inefficiencies in regulatory agencies may further increase the cost of trading – creating so-called procedural obstacles. Many of these problems are rooted in lack of knowledge and technical capacity.
Africa is making great strides towards enhancing its SPS capabilities and CABI continues to play a role in helping countries create systems which help protect them from the entry, establishment and spread of exotic pests. One example of this is our involvement in building stronger African food security in the Africa Plant Biosecurity Network which includes the 35 African biosecurity ‘champions.’ These are important ‘actors’ who are helping to improve food security and safe regional trade throughout Africa.
We have also helped to lift the 2015 ban on vegetable exports from Ghana – worth $15 million a year – which had been imposed by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission. Working with partners including the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, and the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX), CABI has helped streamline the country’s inspection and export certification as part of improving its phytosanitary systems. This project is promoting good agricultural practices in the vegetable production chain; is reviewing standard operation procedures (SOPs) for inspection and production to conform to destination countries’ plant health requirements and is equipping laboratories for the inspectors. Thanks to these efforts, the ban was lifted in January 2018.
CABI is also working with partners in other countries to enhance market access in the African region and globally. For example, we are building the capability of National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), producers and exporters of horticultural commodities in order to meet international SPS and export market requirements. Furthermore, we are supporting the strengthening of Public-Private Partnerships to carry out integrated pest management along commodity value chains and are not just relying on endpoint inspection by when it might be too late.
To this end, we are looking to work closely with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to help scale up improved access to trade and scientific information. Key to this is the integration of SPS databases to the SPS agency systems implemented by TMEA, the development of SPS regional information sharing platforms and the advancement of ICT systems to increase traceability and regional tracking of agricultural produce.
Ultimately, I believe the aim for better SPS measures will not only lead to more exports of African goods to international markets such as Europe and other parts of the world but also within Africa itself. The Tripartite non-tariff barrier reporting and monitoring mechanism stemming from the Tripartite Trade Capacity Building Programme is an excellent step forward in this respect. As well as improving reporting of non-tariff barriers, this programme also has the important task of reducing or removing barriers to trade. Kenya and China signed an MoU on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures last year – the signing comes in the wake of concerns in Kenya and more generally the rest of Africa of the rising trade imbalance in favour of China. Yet one of the reasons for this trade imbalance is the failure of African countries to meet the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards of the export markets. The recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by African Heads of State bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion dollars presents a big opportunity but compliance to standards remains key to its success.
And what about the millions of smallholders I mentioned earlier?
CABI’s flagship programme, Plantwise, helps smallholder farmers through its network of plant clinics; providing essential and practical advice on how to deal with pests and diseases on their farms. Doing this means mobilising more than just agricultural advisory services in rural areas. It means developing a country’s entire plant health system which includes researchers, policymakers, input suppliers, farmer organizations, NGOs, and more. Plantwise builds institutional capacity to ensure that countries are better equipped to deal with pest outbreaks as a whole. Plant health systems development helps to ensure countries make agricultural production sustainable in the long-term.
But how do farmers tackle crop pests and diseases after diagnosis? CABI advocates the use of more sustainable and environmentally friendly management of agricultural pests and diseases, including new incursions like the fall armyworm, to enable smallholders to become more competitive and thereby access local, regional and international markets. However, in many cases, management practices come at a higher financial cost to the already cash-strapped smallholder.
We must formulate ways of making the sustainable management of pests and diseases much more affordable for smallholders who might otherwise go without protection for their valuable crops. Effective, low-cost management at the production end of the value chain will help reduce the pressure on ensuring SPS compliance further along the food chain.
Having worked with farmers to produce the quality produce demanded by the market in Plantwise and other initiatives, it is crucial to link these producers with the market and ensure an efficient and functional value chain with both public and private sector players. Providing timely, pragmatic and actionable agricultural husbandry advice and market information, building the capacity of stakeholders, are roles that CABI has played around the world, as well as monitoring and quantifying the impact of the improved interventions.
Whatever the solution, and I know there is no easy answer, I believe my African brothers and sisters want an equal place at the ‘World’s food table.’ I believe they want to build their own capacity and capability for better and resilient value chains through enhanced SPS measures. There is no question that if the World’s 500 million smallholder farmers can trade more with better-quality produce, they’ll be able to improve their lives while contributing to meeting the increasing global demand for food.
Daily News – Tanzania
By: DEO MUSHI
Tanzania is among the countries in Africa that have so far accorded higher priority on gender equality, and women empowerment.
This is evidenced by the various recent past affirmative actions undertaken by the government at the level of Parliament, Judiciary and Executive for creating a levelling playing field particularly for women and other disadvantaged groups in the society.
The government has been committed to ensure that, through gender equality and equity, women of this country become agents of their own development.
Hence, to attain that goal, the government has been in the process of engendering her national budget in conjunction with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like TGNP Mtandao and others.
The government has integrated the planning and budgeting processes, as well as funding of gender targets and activities for attaining the desired results, and removing Value Added Tax (VAT) on pads last year has proved this success.
According to TGNP Mtandao member Ms Gema Akilimali, Gender Budgeting initiatives were first pioneered in the country by the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), a Nongovernmental Organisation, way back in 2000 to make sure that the vulnerable also live deserved lives.
Such interventions are supported by the government, whereby the Ministry of Finance and Planning in collaboration with TGNP conducted a number of awareness training sessions to the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Regions and Local Government Authorities (LGAs) on Gender Responsive Budgeting.
Planning and Budgeting Officers were trained on how to mainstream gender in their plans and budgets and following the training, a section was included in the Plan and Budget Guidelines instructing MDAs, Regions and LGA’s to develop targets and activities addressing gender equality issues in their respective institution’s Medium-Term Strategic Plans and Expenditure Frameworks.
To date, the Ministry of Finance and Planning has continued to allocate resources to the MDAs, Regions and LGAs targets and activities for achieving the long-term desired goals on gender and equity aspects.
Integrating gender into the planning and Budgeting Processes Government Budget is the key policy instrument that the government uses to ensure that, targets and activities are accomplished to realise the desired set of national goals and objectives.
Over the years, the government has made strides to make gender equality and women’s empowerment as the main instruments for achieving the country’s national economic growth and poverty reduction objectives.
Engendering of the government budget is, of course, a complex process that requires a well-designed planning and budgeting processes.
The government has a good designed planning and budgeting processes in place, which involve many actors at different stages.
The government has adopted performance-oriented budgeting and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework with the aim of improving service delivery to its citizens both in urban and rural areas.
Under the model, each MDA, Regions and LGA is required to have three years; Strategic Plan indicating its mission, vision and well-articulated objectives, targets and actionoriented activities in line with the national priorities and other sector policy interventions.
National and international commitments are reflected in the national Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (NSGRP) and in the institutional strategic plans.
The objectives and targets in the Strategic Plans are reflected in the Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks for MDAs/Regions/LGAs for effective implementation.
Hence, strategically these systems in place have been used as an entry point for engendering the national budget.
Capital budgeting enables executives to take a potential project and estimate its future cash flows, which then helps determine if such a project should be accepted.
The capital budgeting facilitates the transfer of information; from the time that a project starts off as an idea to the time it is accepted or rejected, numerous decisions have to be made at various levels of authority.
The capital budgeting process facilitates the transfer of information to the appropriate decision makers within a company.
Since a good project can turn bad if expenditures aren’t carefully controlled or monitored, this step is a crucial benefit of the capital budgeting process.
Creation of Decision; when a capital budgeting process is in place, a company is then able to create a set of decision rules that can categorize which projects are acceptable and which projects are unacceptable.
The result is a more efficiently run business that is better equipped to quickly ascertain whether or not to proceed further with a project or shut it down early in the process, thereby saving a company both time and money.
It is well-known that women are under-represented in areas of achievement throughout past history and there are more men achieving distinctions of mental ability, from Nobel-prize winners to ordinary women in our society.
However, this has always been put down to poor educational opportunities women have had in the past and to their being handicapped by their upbringing, social pressures and active discrimination from men.
It may also be significant that most top positions require an almost selfish dedication and sacrifice of time and energy; and many women choose to direct their energies towards family rather than career or other outside achievements.
At times there is a tendency in our society to value scientific achievement above other areas and therefore assume that the people involved in science must be the most intelligent.
It then follows that since science attracts more male, than men must be more intelligent, however, there could be other reasons that women are underrepresented in science which have nothing to do with their mental ability.