AgResults and Land O’Lakes Venture37 Reflect on Gender Inclusion in Tanzania at #AGRF2023

September 12, 2023

People sitting at Africa Food Forum stage talking

When food systems are inclusive, understandable they are stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable. But the question of how best to bring women and youth to the table to drive food systems transformation – that is more complex. Last week, the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit addressed this topic, bringing together government representatives, the private sector, NGO partners, farmers, and other key stakeholders for four days of engaging conversations and knowledge sharing. From September 5-8, along with a pre-summit day on September 4, conference discussions emphasized a multi-pronged approach blending policy and innovation to create food systems that are adaptive to changing climates. AgResults joined Land O’Lakes Venture37 at #AGRF2023 to host a pre-summit panel on September 4 titled “Gender-Inclusive Dairy in Tanzania.”

Using presentations and discussions, the session examined how strategic investments in Tanzania’s dairy sector are deepening women’s autonomy as decisionmakers and making the value chain more resilient and inclusive. Representatives from the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Challenge Project and the Dairy Nourishes Africa – Building Inclusive Livelihoods through Dairy (DNA-BILD) project explained interventions that are engaging the public and private sectors to strengthen farmers’ technical knowledge and management practices.

Dai Harvey, Group Director of Technical Impact and Innovation at Land O’Lakes Venture37, kicked things off as the moderator, recognizing the current challenges that Tanzania faces around gender inclusion.

man speaking at a podium
Dai Harvey, Group Director of Technical Impact and Innovation at Land O’Lakes Venture37, moderated the pre-summit panel on September 4.

“Women are overwhelmingly involved in day-to-day livestock management while men dominate higher-value work,” Mr. Harvey said. “It is critical to bridge these gender gaps, strengthen productivity, and improve nutritional outcomes among rural populations.”

Then Neema Mrema, Team Leader of the AgResults Tanzania project, presented on the Pay-for-Results prize competition that aims to increase dairy productivity in the country by encouraging private sector input suppliers to deliver inputs to smallholder farmers.

woman speaking through a microphone
Neema Mrema, Team Lead of the AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project, discussed the use of a Pay-for-Results prize competition to encourage private sector investment in the dairy value chain.

“For any value chain to be sustainable, it has to ensure there is no discrimination in participation,” said Ms. Mrema. “AgResults had been instrumental in ensuring there is participation of women and youth through creating opportunities for youth and enabling an environment for women to access inputs and extension services.”

Following the AgResults presentation, Consolata Kavishe and Lightness Justine — Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager and Dairy Specialist for the DNA-BILD project, respectively — spoke about the program’s work to reach resource-poor, opportunity-constrained stakeholders across the dairy value chain.

“Supporting small-scale milk processors through the challenge fund unlocks opportunities for underserved women farmers to formalize their milk businesses,” said Ms. Kavishe.

another woman speaking through a microphone
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager Consolata Kavishe discussed the role of the Dairy Nourishes Africa – Building Inclusive Livelihoods through Dairy (DNA-BILD) project to reach previously marginalized populations.

A lively group discussion followed, with Mr. Harvey posing questions to each panelist in turn that touched on strategic investments, the role of project structure on driving outcomes, and the impact on women’s autonomy and financial security. The audience then got the opportunity to ask questions to each of the panelists.

“To ensure sustainability and scalability, projects should focus on promoting improved technologies and practices that address the needs of both men and women along the dairy value chain,” said Ms. Justine.

Mr. Harvey wrapped up the session by framing the conversation in the context of the Forum overall.

“This year’s summit focuses on building back better food systems with youth and women at the center, Mr. Harvey said. “Our hope is that this session has illustrated how several programs in Tanzania are engaging public and private sectors to empower women to play a more central role – in this case, within the dairy value chain.”

For more information about the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit, visit the conference website.

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