PROJECT COORDINATOR: Stuart Nathaniel
EMPOWERING FARMING WOMEN THROUGH TOURISM
The project’s ambition is to support women farmers through concrete actions from a gender equality and women’s empowerment approach. The project intends to enable their active participation in the tourism value chain by supplying produce to the accommodation sector in the north of Tanzania. The outcomes will be to both increase the benefits of tourism and micro-finance to reduce poverty for both men and women and to provide hotels and lodges with cheaper, reliable, quality provisions. This project has the potential to economically transform opportunities for women farmers in the north of Tanzania.
THE CASE: The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) report that most people living in rural areas of Tanzania remain extremely poor. The agricultural sector, composed of a majority of smallholders, has not benefited from the same momentum as other sectors and is still in need of investment and modernization. The average per capita income stands at US$ 600.66 (World Bank 2014).
Nevertheless, the economy of Tanzania largely depends on agriculture, which accounts for about one quarter of GDP, and employs about 80% of the workforce in a population estimated at 50 million. Approximately 90% of Tanzania’s poor people live in rural areas. No region is significantly better off than others, and all are very poor by any international standard. The United Nations Development Programme ranked Tanzania 152nd of 187 countries in 2015. Poverty reduction has been slow and unevenly shared. It is estimated that one third of Tanzanians live below the basic needs poverty line, and well below the international poverty line.
The Northern Tourism Circuit is the best developed tourism route in the country according to the Tanzanian Tourism Board. It is Tanzania’s most visited protected area with over 438,000 tourists visiting in 2009 with earnings at Tshs. 34.7 billion (http//:www.tanzania.go.tz/econicsurvey.html).
It is the home of classic “safari” (journey) experience, a spectacularly diverse cluster of eco-system and habitats, linked by the movements of as definitive a cross section of wildlife as is found on the African continent. The circuit includes famous landmarks including Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Olduvai Gorge and Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. The country’s tourism sector has grown by an average annual rate of 12% between 2000 and 2012 (World Bank, 2015).
There is currently minimal connection between the hotel industry and the farmers. There are no regular formal or informal supplies to the hotels from the local farmers. The Ministry of Tourism statistics (2010) for Kilimanjaro (Moshi), Arusha and Manyara regions is 227 hotels/lodges. Provisions are bought from dealers who generally buy from markets. Food sources are not known (UNCTAD 2015).
Agriculture employed approximately 70% of the population between 1998 and 2009 and is thus the mainstay of the majority of the country’s population. Although the sector contributes around 25 per cent of GDP and its growth is critical to achieving Tanzania’s poverty reduction strategy goals, it has been lower than that of the overall economy. This explains the relatively slow decline in poverty in rural areas and the accelerated pace of migration from rural to urban areas ( World Bank, 2015).
Small-scale women farmers are the main producers of horticultural products. Their farms average 2.5 ha (UNCTAD 2015) and they tend not to be organised when it comes to supplying local or regional markets. They often compete with each other in the market place.
Evidence shows that in The Gambia, where a scheme to create direct linkages between women farmers and hotels, GIG, shifted income for over 400 women from zero percentage of local supply to hotels to 65% in 5 years. Lessons can be learnt from this Concern funded project which can be transferred to Tanzania.
Research in 2016/17 by Equality in Tourism found that both hotels and women farmers are very interested to develop a similar project: The hotels because they either want to engage with their local communities – or be seen to engage with local communities – and because it will be cheaper and will save time through efficiency of delivery. The women farmers are very interested to be involved because their current outlets are competitive, with poor returns, and restricted to the local markets.
At the country level, there are various business and trade associations, but none focused on linking the agriculture and tourism sectors. At the local level, food supply is needed by the tourism sector but linkages are done on personal business terms through individual brokers – middlemen – or via street markets. There are currently no formal agricultural programmes that assist local farmers in meeting the requirements of hotels and restaurants or tap into their markets (Vock, 2014; Kyaruzi, 2014; Mashindano, 2014). As a result, the food supply chain in the country is very complex and disorganized. Most agricultural goods (i.e. horticultural products) are traded through middlemen to wholesale markets.
Gender inequality is a major obstacle for development in Tanzania. However, reporting on progress on the Millenium Development Goals on empowerment for women, it was considered probable that this could be achieved. (Tanzania Country Report on the MDGs 2010).
Gender analysis is important in understanding agricultural growth and poverty reduction in Tanzania. With the rise in male migration, divorce, abandonment and female full time caring and widowhood through chronic illness and deaths related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as the increase in male effective absence through alcohol abuse, women in rural Tanzania are assuming more and more of men’s responsibilities in a number of positions.
Agricultural work (farming and labouring), management of household poverty and intergenerational poverty via education and human capital investments in children are examples of the responsibilities women are assuming. Meanwhile, as women have taken on more and more of men’s share of the responsibility for family maintenance, the cash costs they face in sustaining their families have risen sharply since 2000. This includes inflation in the price of food (required nutrition and/or higher quality food) and of other basic essentials such as hygiene, education, health and water. This is of particular concern because it has profound implications for intergenerational poverty (loss of physical, cognitive and educational capabilities of children).
At the same time, women’s ability to meet these costs through farming has fallen as fertile land is in short supply and as they shoulder the burden of undertaking income-generating activities alone. Land inheritances shrink with each generation and costs of maintaining fertile land have risen sharply. This shortage is most prevalent among women who lose their rights to marital assets on the death of their husband. Divorced and abandoned women lose their rights to farm land, the home and other assets, despite their legal rights under statutory law, yet often retain the full responsibility for feeding the children and elders.
The official response to these problems has been to stimulate women’s involvement in
business (trade and petty manufacturing) and to promote cheaper credit for women. However, women in all the regions studied had confronted difficulties obtaining the capital to start businesses.
Even when they did succeed, they found that markets were flooded with other women doing the same (for instance tomato and fish sellers in Rukwa region; doughnut and other cooked food, tomato and clothing sellers in Mtwara region). Moreover, these businesses depend on the purchasing power of farmers. When farmers’ incomes fail (owing to poor prices or production failures) –whether over a number of years or just for one bad season –so do the markets for these businesses. (Agricultural growth and poverty reduction in Tanzania 2000-2010: where has agriculture worked for the poor and what can we learn from this? Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper June 2011, Mashindano, O. et al. 2010).
An opportunity to help resolve this gender inequality by empowering women to run their own businesses is by making strong entrepreneurial links to the local tourism industry.
Studies point to the crucial link between tourism, development and women’s empowerment (UNWTO/UN Women, 2011). This is why Equality in Tourism believes that a partnership with local hotels, local farmers, microfinance organisations and NGOs will support women’s empowerment and economic development in the Moshi and Arusha districts. This proposed project aims at improving the livelihood sustainability of women through training and microfinance co-operatives in order for them to be able to work with the tourism industry as self-employed.
The farmers selected will be women living in poverty who lack entrepreneurial skills and are unaware of the potential of the tourism sector to promote women’s economic empowerment, and of the possibility of gender equality. Because of their physical proximity to the tourism industry there is considerable opportunity for the beneficiaries to be able to contribute to it and benefit from it. There is a high demand for produce and products by the hotels and lodges. In particular, fruit, vegetables, eggs and value added goods such as honey are presently produced on a small scale by rural, poor communities as a family project and do not meet market demand. The potential for supplying these products to alleviate poverty is considerable. Other agencies work well in these communities but support the provision of services such as health, water, primary and secondary education.
Key to a successful project is the need for the accommodation sector to be guaranteed consistency of supply and quality of product. In order to achieve this, the following will be required:
- Funding to support the infrastructural capital and running costs of the project.
- The creation of a co-operative micro-financed organization to enable the farmers to have sufficient finance to develop their businesses.
- Training for both the tourism and hospitality sector and the farmers about tourism from a gender perspective and leadership from a gender perspective. Training to include both groups together.
- The professional training, development, co-ordination and support of value chain management with the objective of strengthening the institutional capacity of farmer-based organizations to scale up best practices and support farmers’ and private sector participants’ to address key constraints and exploit the opportunities to improve the productivity, processing, and marketing of selected commodities.
- The creation of a training farm for the farmers to learn latest organic techniques, be trained to manage new seeds and crops and to share experience.
- The strengthening of marketing and agribusiness development through training and the engagement of private sector stakeholders. Its sub-components are: (i) institutional strengthening and value chain co-ordination; (ii) linking producers to markets; and (iii) improving the agricultural investment climate and service delivery.
- Project administration and institution building to ensure proper co-ordination of project implementing agencies and sound management of project activities, while providing support to relevant ministries, associations and agencies.
- The development of an app that will manage the orders and payments from the hotels to the cooperative.
- The provision of child care support with a nursery for the women’s children.
- The creation of relevant indicators and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
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