Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

A comprehensive scoping and assessment study of climate smart agriculture (CSA) policies in Tanzania
30 April 2014
Filbert B.R. Rwehumbiza (PhD)


The main inputs in agricultural production are the natural resource base i.e. rainfall, land, water bodies, pastures, animal and plant genetic diversity. With climate change, the challenge is how best and optimally can one use the resources to sustain or even improve on the productivity of crop and livestock production.

Responding to current and projected climate change impacts the country has developed national adaptation strategies and action plans. Adaptation strategies are typically high level documents that set out overarching government approaches to adaptation (often as part of national climate change policies), while adaptation plans go further by setting out concrete adaptation actions, such as sectoral adaptation policies, adaptation projects and programmes and specific measures to address identified vulnerabilities (Mullan et al., 2013)

Country overview of land, agriculture, and food security issues

Tanzania is located on the eastern coast of Africa south of the equator between latitudes 1° 00' S and 11° 48' S and longitudes 29° 30' E. The eastern side of Tanzania is a coastline of about 800 km long marking the western side of the Indian Ocean. Tanzania, has an area of 942,784 kmĀ², Out of the land mass area, water bodies cover 61, 495 km2 (6.52% of the total area).

Agriculture is Tanzania's main economic activity that employs about 70 percent of the total population. Like many other developing countries, Tanzania's agriculture is more vulnerable to climate change adverse impacts due to its dependency on rainfall. The adverse impacts of climate change already being experienced in Tanzania include reduced crop yields due to drought and floods, reduced water availability, increased occurrence of crop and livestock pests and diseases among others.

According to NAPA (2005), Tanzania has about 88.6 million hectares of land suitable for agricultural production, including 60 million hectares of rangelands suitable for livestock grazing. However part of this land is only marginally suitable for agricultural production and livestock grazing because of factors such as drought proneness and tsetse infestation. Currently, only 23% of the arable land is under cultivation, and of that about 97% is rainfed (World Bank, 2002). As for the rangelands, 50% is used for livestock grazing (URT 2001).

Rainfall in about 75% of the country is erratic and only 21% of the country can expect an annual rainfall of more than 750 mm with a 90% probability. As a result, crop and livestock production under such conditions remains vulnerable to the adequacy, reliability and timeliness of rainfall. The mean annual rainfall varies considerably, ranging from less than 400 mm to over 2,500 mm per annum. Embracing Climate Smart Agriculture is one way of reducing the risks and vulnerability as a consequence of changing climate.

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