HIGHLIGHTS OF TELEFOOD ACTIVITIES IN TANZANIA, DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY, HON. CHARLES N. KEENJA (MP.) AT A TELEFOOD GALA NIGHT, AT ROYAL PALM HOTEL, ON

25TH OCTOBER, 2002

 

 

 

Your Excellency, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania,

 

First Lady Mama Anna Mkapa,

 

The Chairman of the National TeleFood Committee, Mr. Tramontano,

 

The FAO Representative in Tanzania Mr. Pierre Gence

 

Honourable Ministers

 

Your Excellencies,

 

Invited Guests,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

 

 

1. Your Excellency, the President, May I take this opportunity to thank you for accepting to grace the TeleFood Gala night, despite your busy schedule. Your presence at this event is a testimony of how much you value TeleFood activities in the country.

 

2. Your Excellecy, TeleFood Tanzania, was launched in 1997, and since then TeleFood Tanzania has raised Tshs. 205 million and funded 45 projects across the country. All funds for these projects were mobilized from domestic sources. Most projects target the rural poor, especially women. A large proportion of TeleFood resources has benefited women groups, because most of the food we consume in the country is produced by women. Women provide more than 70% of agricultural labour force. Thus targeting women is not accidental, but a well calculated initiative aimed at finding a sustainable solution for food insecurity, by targeting the food producers, the women.

 

3. Tanzania is currently producing adequate supplies of food to meet national demand. The National daily calorie consumption per capital is estimated at 2200 calories, just close to the recommended average intake by the Food Agriculture Organisation of 2,300 calories per day. However, Aggregate data mask the extent of food insecurity at household and individual levels. It is estimated that about 40% of Tanzanians go without adequate food intake, despite the fact that we produce about 95% of food consumed in the country.

 

4. Your Excellency, lack of adequate food intake, which is manifested in high prevalence of Protein Energy malnutrition in the country is caused by lack of means to produce adequate food or ability to access adequate food. In addition, biases in intra-household distribution, mainly caused by faulty traditions in some of our communities is another cause of food insecurity.

 

5. Your Excellency, localized food insecurity and hunger are common and continue to be influenced by lack of access and inadequate resources at the household level. In addition, variation in food security are significant. The range for calorie intake varies from one farming system to another. For example, the information we have show that, the millet/sorghum and the coffee/banana farming systems fall short of the FAO threshhold of 2,300 calories per capita per day. I am glad to note that, TeleFood Tanzania has realized this and as gone to great lengths to mitigate the situation by providing the badly needed resources in order to enhance food production in the country.

 

6. Your Excellency, various surveys conducted in the country show that the rural population and the rural poor in particular, tend to specialize in production of a single cereal, with half of them producing maize. The TeleFood campaign has for the past five years been trying to reach out to these people and assist them to diversity. Some of the projects implemented include grain milling, tree planting, fishing and fish marketing, horticulture, livestock keeping and pasture production. These projects are relatively small costing between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000. However, these projects have proved to be sustainable and have contributed immensely in; reducing food insecurity, raising incomes and built confidence of people in the target areas.

 

7. Your Excellency, May I at this juncture, take this opportunity to commend the Chairperson of The Equal Opportunity Trust Fund and Patroness of TeleFood Tanzania, for accepting to spearhead this noble cause. Your determination and will to ensure the attainment of TeleFood objective of reducing food insecurity are a major input in building a self help culture and sustainable development in our country.

 

8. TeleFood projects have been successful in Tanzania due to commitment and dedication of TeleFood Committee. It is out of this commitment that this committee has been able to mobilise the required resources for various TeleFood projects. Currently, TeleFood Tanzania is among the largest programmes in the World. TeleFood projects are implemented in Tanga, Morogoro, Singida, Kagera, Dar es Salaam, Ruvuma, Kilimanjaro, Coast region, Mara, Iringa, Rukwa, Mbeya, Dodoma, Mwanza, Arusha and Zanzibar. We thank all who have contributed resources which have made implementation of various projects possible.

 

9. Your Excellency, after presenting a summary of the food security situation and TeleFood activities in the country, may now welcome you to give us your wisdom which will guide and provide us with new impetus in implementing our future activities.