Tanzania economy depends much on the agricultural activities by more than half of its national income. According to the 2012 census, it is estimated that Tanzania population to be 45 million people, of which more than 80% are living in rural areas (Dungumaro & Madulu, 2003). The type of the agriculture conducted in Tanzania is mostly a rain fed agriculture, which was mostly started by small indigenous farmers then improved one (Kangalawe, Majule, & Shishira, 2005). As it has been explained, the irrigation practice conducted by the indigenous were used the irrigation infrastructures which were operating not to the expected extent. In this irrigation, the farmers spent a lot of water within a small cultivated area that finally produced a few agricultural products.
In order to improve agriculture status of the country, Tanzania government started to adopt a new way of irrigation. In this new farming system, the country started mostly to practice improve irrigation type of farming (URT, 1997, 2001) whereby the government started to invest in the construction of the irrigation infrastructure. The target of this kind of government intervention is to increase the production yield, water use efficiency and the cultivated area, however, the ownership of the constructed infrastructure still remained under the government together with the operation and maintenance were under the government (Lankford, 2004). As it has been explained in the Tanzania National Water Policy of 2002, and later on observed by (Blomquist & Schlager, 2005), and (Jonch-Clausen & Committee, 2004) that; the river basin organisation were chosen to be the main agent of controlling the water resources in an integrating manner including irrigation facilitation.
Despite of all those efforts showed by the Tanzania government on investing in the agriculture sector, still there were some other challenges. These challenges were too much operational cost from the central government and the production efficiency were not as much as it have been expected (AE & Mwalyosi, 2005). As Kagubila (1994) explained, these problems were not due to the investment but were due to the governance. To overcome this, the government decided to amend its agricultural policy specifically on the management issues of the irrigation schemes. In this amendments, whereby the managerial activities of the scheme is shifted from the central government to the ownership of the local farmers whereas the controlling of the water resources where under the rbo’s. In this irrigation management transfer, the local community were supposed to contribute in operation and maintenance cost together with management issues (Lankford, 2004).
In this essay I will analyse the shift from the central government ownership to the local community ownership, which occurred in 1960’s to 1990’s years. To write this essay I have carried out an intensive literature review on various secondary scholarly sources related to the topic of shift in governance from the locally irrigation scheme to the improved one. Moreover various reports related to the case study by the National and International Organizations are also used.
2. Historical Background of Irrigation scheme in Tanzania
a. Colonial era
In 1955 the former partition of water development was taken place to introduce the irrigation activities in the government to be monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture. This was the start of government participation in irrigation development. During the period that the water development and irrigation partition was involved to the Ministry of Agriculture, quite a few irrigation schemes were constructed which are Kalenga, Mlali, Kitivo, Ikowa, Kalimawe, Utengule and Uru chini. They were built with the idea that irrigation scheme could be properly managed by local authorities or regional agricultural officer who had little or no knowledge of irrigated cultivation (Hu, 1969).
The government construct the irrigation scheme for public purposes, where they construct to the area of the livelihood. Moreover, management of that scheme were under government ownership whereby delegate it to sectorial of agriculture to undertaken encounters of monitoring and management of the scheme to local government authorities.
b. The post-independence period (1960’s – 1970’s)
According to the Tanzania National Agriculture Policy of 1962, the government was almost implementing a top-down approach on how to start and to operate the agricultural activities. In this era, the central government controlled the large agriculture projects to the some of the selected areas. In this, the management decisions were taken place from the higher level and then disseminated to the lower level for the further implementation.
c. From 1980’s to date
Starting from 1980’s to 1990’s Tanzania was passed through a great series of agriculture policy modification. As a result, The National Agricultural and Livestock Policy of 1997 was then established. In this policy, the government delegated some of the powers of the ownership and management of the projects to the local community. In addition to that, the funds collected by the community themselves from the schemes instead of being collected by the government (Lankford, 2004). Moreover, the irrigator’s organization (IO) are able to set their own water plan towards the irrigated project and decide on the better ways of managing and monitoring the project. Furthermore, they set cost sharing to those water users in agriculture for the purpose to ensure the proper monitoring and rehabilitation of the project and other development activities. In case of technical support and capacity building wherever needed, were supported by the government.
3. The current institutional set up of the agricultural sector in Tanzania
As it have been explained earlier that, the Tanzania government decided to amend its agricultural institutional set up so as to cope with the emerging challenges. In this new agricultural institutional set up of 1990s, Tanzania focused much on the poverty reduction approach. Before this, the early agricultural sector policy were the National Investment Policy (1990), the Formulation of a National Land Policy (1995).
Lankford (2004) explain the current management shift of the irrigation schemes had some main objective
i. To increase the community ownership of their schemes. In this, the local community are required to organise themselves to form their community irrigation organization, where by the management team of these organisations are selected by the community themselves
ii. To reduce the operational cost of the schemes. In this, the local community were required to contribute some funds for the operation of the schemes instead of coming direct from the central government.
iii. Equity of water distribution to the farmers. Due to the management activities including water allocation being done by the local community themselves, this expected to increase the transparency and accountability of the community and hence equity among the water to the community.
Institutional set up of agricultural sector
In this new institutional set up of the agricultural sector, there is different levels of decision making. They are starting from the national level, regional, district to the local community level. The decision making structures of these levels depends over one another.
– At the National level
At national level, the main ministry responsible for the agricultural activities in Tanzania is the Ministry of Agriculture. This ministry which is in the central government is responsible for making the national policies dealing with agriculture, guidelines and other regulations. It is also responsible for preparing other capacity building programs to the other stakeholders. Also, there are some other ministries dealing with some other activities related to the agriculture sector (URT, 2013).
– The regional secretariat
The RS are responsible body to support the local government authorities in terms of the technical issues related for the agriculture activities so as for the LGAs to function in efficiently. Together with that, it is responsible for the capacity building to the LGAs.
– The local government authorities
The local community is an organ which is at the lowest level and is in direct contact with the local community. It is responsible organ for the enforcement of the policies and other regulations as directed from the national level. Thus, the LGAs plays a vital roles in development of agriculture sector. These roles are clearly explained in the Local Government Authorities Amendment Act of 1999, such as:-
i. Enhancement on community and economic upscaling
ii. Planning and ensure proper sectorial Strategies
iii. Coordinate the execution of laws, statutes and regulation crucial to the sector
iv. Monitoring and linking the delivery of extension services
v. Organizing resources for the local development programs
vi. Control of livelihood for the aims of ensures sustainable development.
vii. Proper allocation of land and management for better and sustainable land use.
– Community ownership
According to the National Water Policy of 2002, the water resources in Tanzania is owned by the public. Due to this policy, every individual is responsible for managing water resources. Therefore, the local community through their established local community irrigators’ organization, they are responsible for managing water resources at the lowest level. The importance of the local community involvement in the management of water resource has been explained by Dungumaro and Madulu (2003) by citing some case studies in Tanzania. In these case studies of Msanzi, Mbarali and Lower Moshi irrigation projects, author explain on how the agriculture infrastructure which were initially owned by the government, then shifted to their established community organisations.
On the other hand, still there is an existence of the tradition irrigation communities which are very powerful in decision making in their catchment area (Adams, Potkanski, & Sutton, 1994). These tradition irrigation, although are not direct reflected in the existing modern agricultural sector institutional set up, but practically has a great impacts. This is because at any time any point, they tends to abstract water from the catchment for their agriculture activities. They have their own water allocation mechanism which is the locally agreed (Lankford, 2004).
In this study, it has been shown that the Tanzania agricultural sector program has passed in different stages at different time. The first stage involved the following actors and institutions: The central (colonial) government, local community and private sectors. The second stage entailed a shift towards a system in the last phase, which started in 1990’s, which is charaterised by the following actors, institutions, roles and responsibilities. The aim of all these transformation is to strengthen the agricultural sector in Tanzania. In all these transformation, it managed to change its institutional set up and finally, the central government instead of being the main implementation agent, it is only there for making the policy, guidelines and other regulations. On the other hand, the local community has been given the mandates of managing the water resources at the lowest level. In this, community own the irrigation infrastructure, collects funds for the operation and maintenance activities.
Adams, W. M., Potkanski, T., & Sutton, J. E. (1994). Indigenous farmer-managed irrigation in Sonjo, Tanzania. Geographical Journal, 17-32.
AE, M., & Mwalyosi, R. (2005). Enhancing Agricultural Crop Production Through Sustainable Irrigation Farming: Vmyungu Farming System in Southern Highlands, Tanzania. Social and Environmental Impact of Irrigation Farming in Tanzania: Selected Cases, 108.
Blomquist, W., & Schlager, E. (2005). Political pitfalls of integrated watershed management. Society and Natural Resources, 18(2), 101-117.
Dungumaro, E. W., & Madulu, N. F. (2003). Public participation in integrated water resources management: the case of Tanzania. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 28(20), 1009-1014.
Hu, C. H., D. (1969). Water development Planning and Soil aspects of Irrigation development. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation. Rome.
Jonch-Clausen, T., & Committee, T. (2004). “–Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water Efficiency Plans by 2005”: Why, what and How? : Global Water Partnership.
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Lankford, B. (2004). Irrigation improvement projects in Tanzania; scale impacts and policy implications. Water policy, 6(2), 89-102.
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