Recently, the RIPAT SUA project organized a two-day seminar that brought together stakeholders inside and outside the university to discuss policy brief that will be used to promote agriculture and Livestock sector development in the country
Opening the seminar held at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Head of the Department of Development studies, Dr. Raymond J. Salanga called on stakeholders from the Ministry of Agriculture, SUA employees, RECODA Staff, Morogoro Regional Extension Officers, SUA Students, Tengeru Institute of Community Development and NGOs to provide opinions that will help improve the policy in order to benefit smallholder farmers and be approved for use in the agricultural sector.
Dr. Raymond J. Salanga
For his part, the presenter in the discussion, Prof. Justine K. Urassa from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities said one of the policies discussed was to use the RIPAT system in rural development which is a good system as it puts farmers at the forefront and makes them choose the various technologies they can afford depending on its location and needs. Another policy is to employ "Stimulus farmers" who will be integrated into the government system and provide extension services to smallholder farmers to increase productivity, increase their income and improve their livelihoods, expand farms, build decent housing and become a resource for the community.
"We think that despite having many systems in the past to bring development to rural areas this RIPAT system if adopted by the Government and given priority can bring development very quickly and even farmers will bring development themselves with the help of 'stimulus farmers'" said Prof. Urassa
"We feel that Tanzanian agriculture will be very productive due to the fact that extension officers are not enough but these stimulant farmers will help to provide expertise to their fellow farmers which will increase productivity in their farming and because stimulus farmers live close to their fellow farmers so it will be easier to reach them all the time. added Prof. Urassa
Prof. Urassa called on the government to incorporate 'stimulus farmers' into the formal extension system so that they can be identified and co-operated with other village leaders and the people to accept them so that they can assist them in bringing about development.
Prof. Justine K. Urassa
He also mentioned that using the RIPAT system to bring development has worked as 9 districts and various places like Karatu, Arumeru, Hai, Kenya and Rwanda.
This system was researched from here in Tanzania by Tanzanians themselves and other researchers from Denmark. and when farmers are in groups, they use it to work together to bring about development so it is a good system.
Dr. Emmanuel Malisa
Speaking on the policy, RIPAT SUA project coordinator Dr. Emmanuel Malisa who is a Lecturer from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities said the aim of the project is to ensure the smallholder farmer gets rid of poverty and hunger by using various technologies such as using manure, and quality seeds and planting terraces.
He also urged stakeholders who attended the seminar to continue working as they have seen for themselves how the RIPAT system works in the field when they visited the farmers so do not wait until the Policy is out but continue to teach and distribute the technology they have acquired.
"as stakeholders, you have already seen the results of RIPAT system and how farmers speak, how 'stimulant farmers' carry out their work, how government agencies work with non-governmental organizations in implementing this system, do not wait until the policy is approved but you have to start working" said Dr. Malisa
Dr. Malisa explained that stakeholders have suggested that the RIPAT SUA system should be used throughout Tanzania from the positive results they have seen because only 10 district councils are currently using the system
Mr. Mwinjuma Sareva who is an Economist from the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters, Department of Training Extension Services and Research and one of the key actors in terms of coordinating policy and the presenter in the discussion congratulated RIPAT SUA for organizing the discussion and having a completely different policy which is owned by the stakeholders themselves.
"We as the Ministry do not work alone we work with various stakeholders of Agriculture and what was discussed today I as a representative of the Ministry liked it in the sense that there are many ways to reach extension services professionals but this one run by RIPAT SUA has improved if you look at other ways to convey technology " said Mr. Sereva
He advised that this policy should be communicated to the Ministry and the Ministry should be able to implement it in a timely manner.
One of the stakeholders, Mr. Godlove Matemba, an assistant lecturer from the Tengeru Institute of Community Development, said the policy discussed was very good and should encourage development in the community and if approved, it would be very helpful to the community.
"In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture I request that this policy be announced, taught and encouraged to be used by many people to use their power to get rid of the poverty" said Mr. Matemba
He also commended RIPAT SUA for helping farmers and pastoralists get rid of economic challenges and for adding technology that has brought very good results.