Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, with an area of 945,087km2 and a population of 51.8 million (World Bank, 2014). About 46% of the country (40 million hectares) is suitable for agriculture. The country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) as of 2014 was estimated to be USD 49.18 billion (World Bank, 2014).

Agriculture is key to Tanzania’s overall economic growth and development, accounting for 24.1% of GDP it is a source of livelihoods for more than three-quarters of the population. Key challenges facing the agriculture sector include low productivity, weak farmer extension services and market linkages, post-harvest losses, climate-related risks such as droughts and floods, and low levels of investment in agriculture resulting in poor uptake of modern agricultural technologies.

In order to build resilience  in agricultural systems in Tanzania, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) promotes innovations by tapping into the expertise of other CGIAR Centers, as well as other national and regional research networks. Efforts are focused around the promotion of climate-smart agriculture that faciliates adaptation in cereal-based and livestock systems. In addition, the program works with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives to mainstream climate change into national agriculture plans and agriculture into climate change policy.

Key initiatives in Tanzania:

Climate-smart villages (CSVs): These are models of local actions that ensure food security, promote adaptation and build resilience to climatic stresses. In the CSVs, researchers, local partners, farmers’ groups and policymakers test portfolios of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and practices with the aim of scaling up successful innovations. The CSVs in Tanzania are located in Lushoto in the West Usambara Mountains. CSA technologies and practices being tested in Lushoto include sustainable land management through agroforestry and participatory action research directed towards making improved varieties of beans and potatoes available to farmers through the establishment of a sustainable seed delivery system. 

Decision support tools: Climate scenarios and climate analogues help to improve local and national adaptation planning by identifying target technology and development domains. CCAFS has helped a range of stakeholders across Tanzania to harness these methods through specialised training and capacity building sessions. Through the Farms of the Future project, farmers from Tanzania embarked on a journey to analogue sites where they learnt about practices and technologies that might strengthen their capacity to adapt to the future climate of Lushoto.