Lack of an enabling policy environment is widely recognized as one of the binding constraints to agricultural transformation, food security and nutrition, and economic growth in Tanzania. Recognizing this challenge, national and international development agencies have increased their technical support to the Government of Tanzania to accelerate policy reforms. However, multiplicity of policy initiatives has brought about a new challenge and need for policy coordination for more effectiveness and efficiency in delivering technical assistance. The Feed the Future SERA BORA project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Michigan State University (MSU) and ASPIRES NGO, has put policy coordination on top of its agenda by spearheading establishment of Policy Analysis Group (PAG) as a platform for policy dialogue in Tanzania.
The PAG – a multi-sectoral platform – aims to; promote coordination and partnership in policy dialogue so as to accelerate the implementation of policy reforms in Tanzania. Mr. Audax Rukonge, Chairman PAG, asserted that. “The PAG has proven to be a successful multi sectoral partnership. Over the last 5 years we have successfully reduced duplication of effort in the sector, promoted synergy and collaboration, harmonised policy messaging and in turn, our efforts have accelerated policy reforms for agriculture transformation.”
A key success borne out of this NSA partnership is The Annual Agricultural Policy Conference (AAPC) that has, for over 5 years, effectively brought together key decision makers and influencers from Tanzania and beyond. The number of AAPC participants has increased from 115 in 2014 to over 300 in 2020. AAPC success has been attested by Franklin Bagalla, Managing Director, Tomoni Farms who mentioned that, “As a medium scale farmer my know-how and depth of network has increased with every other AAPC. I have also observed that the content of AAPC is increasingly getting richer and pertinent.”
The annual budget Parliamentary session taking place from April to June is an important policy approval mechanism where new laws and amendments of existing laws are enacted in response to policy reforms. Budget reviews by independent analysis such as local and international consulting firms demonstrate increased pace of reforms in agriculture. A recent analysis has recorded over 50 pieces of reforms in the last 5 years ranging from fiscal reforms to regulatory reforms. Increased pace of reforms is partly attributed to support provided by PAG members including ASPIRES through their support in policy research, policy dialogue, policy formulation or revision, approval, implementation and in monitoring and impact assessment “ I commend PAG’s institutional capacity and truly believe that if capitalised effectively they can make a much bigger impact.” Said , Obey Assery, Director of Policy and Planning, MoA. “Rome was not built in a day. Effective policy making requires developing partnerships with other players, the people, communities, in each sub-sectors, so that together, we may forge a thriving sector founded and built on collective effort and consensus brought about by speaking one language.” Mr. Assery added.
The PAG has also been a useful tool to promote collaboration in research and the utilization of the Non-State Actor members comparative advantages for effective policy change. Our combined strengths have consequently improved policy predictability in the country and consequently improved Tanzania’s ranking in doing business from 145 in 2014 to 141 in 2020.