Sustained by steady growth, over the past two decades Tanzania has made significant progress in economic, social and human development. This, however, has not benefited all sectors of society and inequality has widened.
Although the country currently produces enough food to feed its population, the poorest and most marginalized families – including refugees – have limited access to it. The agricultural sector – largely dominated by smallholder farming – accounts for one quarter of the national GDP, but production is stagnant, while the population is expected to double by 2050. The effects of climate change are deepening the vulnerability of agriculture to disasters.
Chronic malnutrition rates are above the African average, with 34 percent of children under 5 being stunted. This overlaps with other nutritional challenges, including anaemia in women of reproductive age and children, and increasing levels of overweight and obesity.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been in Tanzania since 1963, providing food assistance for refugees, supporting efforts to combat malnutrition and promoting the resilience of smallholder farmers.
However, in an ever-evolving global and national context, achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 requires innovative, forward-looking solutions. For WFP, this means shifting from being a provider of services to enabling the government to strengthen its own mechanisms – including social safety nets – to ensure that all people in Tanzania have access to affordable, nutritious food at all times.
Building on its vast experience both in the country and abroad, and bringing in new partners from the private sector – and especially the technology industry – WFP in Tanzania fosters, tests and refines innovative ideas that could be adapted and replicated on a larger scale in other WFP operations worldwide.
In this line, and in consideration of the impact education has on people’s ability to graduate out of hunger and malnutrition, in 2016 WFP in Tanzania has teamed up with UNESCO and the XPRIZE Foundation on the US$ 15 million Global Learning XPRIZE . This five-year competition challenges teams across the world to develop open-source self-teaching software for children with limited access to schooling. With WFP’s support on logistics and Information and Communications Technology, Tanzania is set to become a testing ground for the five finalist solutions through the participation of 4,000 students across 200 villages.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Tanzania
Food and nutrition
WFP works to ensure that refugees and other vulnerable people in Tanzania, including host communities, are able to meet their basic food and nutrition requirements. The increased use of cash transfers allows recipients to buy food of their choice in local shops, thus boosting local economies. WFP is supporting government efforts to combat malnutrition in all its forms and is distributing specialized nutritious foods to address stunting.
Support for smallholder farmers
To increase production by smallholder farmers and facilitate their access to agricultural markets, WFP is working with private sector partners to provide support at every stage along the value chain. This includes promoting access to quality seeds, financial services, insurance and safe post-harvest storage, as well as creating demand, including through purchase of food for WFP operations in Tanzania and elsewhere.
Social protection systems
WFP is assisting the Tanzanian Government in developing the capacity of its disaster management and social protection systems to reliably address the basic food and nutrition needs of the poorest and most vulnerable populations throughout the year, including in times of crisis. WFP is also assisting to strengthen early warning systems linked to the support the National Food Reserve Agency as the government’s arm in maintaining adequate emergency stocks.
WFP works with partners in Tanzania and beyond – including the WFP Innovation Accelerator based in Munich, Germany – to establish an innovation hub for the testing and refining of innovations that would contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the country and elsewhere. Innovative projects under way include the Global Learning XPRIZE, the WFP Farmer App, adaptive programming and Farm from a Box.