By Briggs Bomba
Some have questioned whether Zimbabweans have any reason to celebrate the fall of President Robert Mugabe, and sentiments are divided over the meaning of this change to the struggle for democracy and their aspirations for a better future.
I argue that Zimbabweans have every reason to celebrate Mugabe's fall but that the bigger task is to use this opportunity to organize with more vigor for a more democratic and just Zimbabwe.
Further, I assert that Mugabe's fall creates a new cultural climate of which Zimbabweans must take advantage to launch a new era of invigorated civic organizing and citizen agency in the country.
Workshop participants group photo taken at Oceanic Bay Hotel, Bagamoyo Tanzania.
The TrustAfrica Agriculture Advocacy Program working with Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) held a workshop for livestock stakeholders to sharpen policy advocacy skills and to validate a strategic communication and advocacy plan, developed after several months of stakeholder consultations and research. The workshop was held from the 8th to the 11th of August, as a follow-up to the groundwork that saw the emergence of a loose network of livestock policy advocates upon seeing the need to come together to promote accountable, inclusive and equitable livestock policies and investments in Tanzania.
The network is made up of wide range of stakeholders from civil society organisations, pastoralists, research private organisations, farmers unions, private sector companies, development partners as well as government.
The workshop aimed to build the advocacy capacity of the livestock policy forum in targeted and strategic policy and budget advocacy for the implementation of key reforms in the sector. The workshop provided an opportunity to encourage deeper engagement, coordination and collaboration amongst the network members to work together on championing and advancing livestock sector development.
Dr Bethule Nyamambi, who leads the TrustAfrica Agriculture Advocacy Program highlighted that a strong, coordinated advocacy network of stakeholders was necessary to important in livestock policymaking and providing evidence to ensure strategic investments and problem-solving in small-scale livestock sector development. Noting that the Tanzania livestock sector, though significant due to its large livestock numbers, was still under developed and underperforming in terms of contribution to GDP, it was therefore important to engage government on investments and better policies. Opportunities presented in National development plans (FYDP 2015-2020) and Agriculture development plans, ASDP2 (2016-2021), Tanzania Livestock Modernisation Initiative and Livestock Master Plan should be leveraged to make a case for increased investment and solving challenges impeding the sector currently.
Opening the workshop, Dr S Mlote, Principal Economist M&E in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF) said “the forum was coming at the right time, when the Ministry is finalizing the Livestock Master Plan, to guide interventions and investments in the sub-sector”. She emphasized that it is time for stakeholders to work together, advocate for issues and policies that will enable Tanzania to benefit from the large number of livestock through significant economic contribution to the GDP, CAADP goals and even industrialization.
*Dr Mlote, Principal Economist M&E, MALF giving opening remarks
Tanzania livestock sector’s potential contribution to achieving many of the national development goals represents a unique opportunity for far-reaching transformation. However, the 60% of the rural population, that relies on livestock herding for income and food security, are marginalized. Whilst livestock production is a fast-growing sector globally, due in part to changing diets because of increasing disposable incomes, investment in small scale livestock and mobile livestock keeping is still minimal and not inclusive. There is recognition that small-scale livestock farming should be supported for its additional positive and sustainable effects on the environment.
The workshop took time to review the advocacy and communication strategy whose vision is to improve production and productivity of the sector. The plan is to advocate for interventions that address 4 specific challenges impeding; increased public and private investments; low access to feeds; better regulatory environment and reduction in prohibitive taxes, improved access to resources including finance, land, and equipment. This advocacy and communication strategy will serve as a roadmap for the forum’s advocacy and communication engagement to achieve these objectives. Post workshop, the strategy will be finalised and launched in September 2017.
Participants engaging in a facilitated discussion on the livestock policy-making processes
By the end of the workshop, participants acknowledged that they had gained new knowledge and improved their skills on analysing and identifying the policy issues and gaps, and developing alternate policy positions, tracking and monitoring budget allocations and public expenditure, understanding strategies to work with and deepen political will and interventions to increase the visibility of livestock sector initiatives.
TrustAfrica’s agriculture advocacy initiative, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative seeks to strengthen the policy advocacy capacities of unions, associations and intermediary organizations that represent the interests of smallholders. It currently focuses on six countries in West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso), East Africa (Tanzania and Uganda) and Southern Africa (Malawi) with a combined population of about 160 million people. TrustAfrica’s work on sustainable, inclusive and equitable agriculture development aims to help such groups as the livestock policy advocacy forum to build the capacity to engage more effectively for better policies. The initiative incorporates knowledge building, grant making and technical assistance, strengthening civil society’s capacity to engage in policy-making processes and advocacy for more inclusive platforms to formulate agricultural policies.
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