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Village food and nutrition planning in Tanzania
World Hunger Programme, The United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
N.W. Shagude and S.M.
Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Malnutrition is very common in Tanzania. It has been estimated that on average about 4 per cent of the underfives are severely malnourished and another 20 per cent are moderately malnourished. This means that more than 600,000 children are malnourished, 100,000 of whom have severe forms of malnutrition. About 50,000 underfives die annually as a result of their malnutrition often in combination with common child diseases (1).
Hunger and malnutrition occur in all the twenty regions of mainland Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) (2). The immediate cause* is most often a combination of too low intake of food in general and infectious disease. The mixture of basic causes, however, varies among the regions and even among villages in the same region. This makes national planning very difficult and calls for a village planning approach.
Nutrition work in Tanzania has a long history (4), but it is only in recent years that it has included the development of a national food and nutrition policy consonant with socialist ideology (5). In order to develop a feasible and realistic policy, nutrition planning activities were initiated at all levels. It is the experience from one of them, Village Food and Nutrition Planning, that is the subject of this paper.
UJAMAA AND SELF-RELIANCE
Tanzania has a population of 17 million people, of whom more than 90 per cent live in rural areas mainly as subsistence farmers. The total area is 88 million hectares, of which about half is potentially cultivable. Only 10 per cent of this cultivable land is cultivated today, leaving a vast potential for agricultural development (6).
After independence in 1961, the Government embarked on a transformation of the rural areas. Based on a proposal by the World Bank a number of settlement schemes were initiated (7). "Progressive farmers" were supported with capital-intensive inputs into agriculture. After a few years, it became apparent that this settlement approach created a privileged class of farmers and that the benefits of the investments seldom spread to the poorer peasants (8).
In 1966 a major reassessment of Tanzania's rural development policy took place. It resulted in the Arusha Declaration in February 1967, in which the policy of "Ujamaa and Self-reliance" was outlined. Socialism was declared the ideology of the state and a major restructuring of society was called for. The Ujamaa and Self-reliance policy emphasizes four principles:
- removal of all types of exploitation,
- major means of production to be under the control of peasants and workers,
- socialism in mind.
In his pamphlet Socialism and Rural Development, the President of Tanzania related the concept of ujamaa to the traditional African way of living (9). This was characterized by (i) respect-each member of the family has a place and rights in relation to other members, (ii) common property -basic necessities are shared, and (iii) obligation to work- every member of the family will take it as a duty to join in whatever work needs to be done.
In 1971 the Party (Tanganyika African National Union, TANU) issued new guidelines (Mwongozo), in which an interpretation of the Arusha Declaration was made in more economic and political terms (10). Development policy in Tanzania was stated in three main objectives:
- transition to participatory and decentralized socialism;
- meeting basic human needs by overcoming absolute poverty; at the same time increasing egalitarianism in individual consuming power and access to public services;
- restructuring Tanzania's economy: a greater balance a ward comprises 4 or 5 villages. between production and use, a higher degree of national economic integration, and more economic autonomy in relation to the international economy.
TABLE 1. The Structure of Administration in Tanzania
|Regional||regional commissioner||regional development director|
|District||area commissioner||district development director|
|Ward||ward secretary||village management technician|
|Village||village chairman||village manager|
* There are 20 regions, about 70 districts, and about 8,000 villages;
The Arusha Declaration and the TANU guidelines paved the way for the decentralization of government in 1972 and the "villagization reform" which was initiated in 1973. The decentralization gave the 20 regions equal power to the ministries of the national Government. The overall coordinating responsibility for planning rural development was vested in the Prime Minister's Office.
During the period of villagization reform (1973-1976), some 10 million people moved into villages. This made it potentially possible for the Government to provide health services, schools, and water for everybody. It also changed fundamentally the basis for agricultural production (11). Initially the emphasis was on communal farming, but later it was changed to various systems of block farming. A number of new institutions were established in order to supply agricultural inputs to the peasants and to appropriate the surplus production. The peasants were brought more closely into the economic circulation of the country (12).
PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING
The decentralization reform considerably altered planning and decision-making in Tanzania. Today there are five levels-national, regional, district, ward, and village-at which institutions have been or are being established to plan and implement development programmes and projects. The Party and the Government have developed parallel institutions at almost all levels. The structure as it is today is shown in table 1.
The political system was originally developed from the village level; thus, political institutions have existed in the villages since independence. The government institutions at village level, however, were not established until recently.
The planning process in Tanzania involves institutions from the village to the national levels. Since the Arusha Declaration, it has been a deliberate policy to encourage all people to participate in the planning and implementation of their development projects. This policy reflects the view that development of a country is brought about by the people themselves. This is the essence of self-reliance.
All the village affairs are discussed and decided upon in the village council, which is chaired by the party village chairman. Each village council should have a sub-committee on health and nutrition as well as one on agriculture. These subcommittees are the main channels of any village level nutrition intervention.
A large project to transform the villages into multipurpose cooperative was launched by the Prime Minister's Office in 1976. The previous unsatisfactory system on cooperative unions and societies had been abolished in June the same year, and the villages were given a much larger responsibility in planning and implementing projects. Each village was urged to work out an agricultural plan to be submitted to the district.
Planning, however, needs a minimum of trained human resources. The lack of this has acted as a constraint on district- and village-level planning throughout the years (13). It was, therefore, of great importance to include a strong training component in the above-mentioned project. Two new cadres-of village management technicians and village managers-were created. The village management technicians are posted at ward level (four or five villages) and are supposed to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of development projects in the villages. Most often they come from the former cadre of cooperative union officers and have received a very short course, mainly in bookkeeping and planning.
Village managers are posted in villages, one in each. Their role is somewhat ambiguous, but they are supposed to have two main functions: to be a general manager of village affairs under the village council, and to be the production manager of the communal village farm. The village manager is the extended arm of the government in the villages (12).
FOOD AND NUTRITION POLICY
In colonial times nutrition work was aimed mainly at improving and maintaining the productivity of plantation workers (14). Published work reflected more the contemporary interests of scientists than the real needs of the community. In the 1950s, however, the Central Advisory Committee on Nutrition was established and a number of mass-oriented proposals were made (15). But knowledge was not enough; the structure of the society made it impossible to implement projects that threatened the colonial authority. It was not until after the Arusha Declaration that the political constraints were removed to allow for mass-oriented health and agricultural policies (5). Poverty, ignorance, and disease were singled out as the prime enemies of the country and a long-term approach to integrated rural development was worked out.
In the Second Five-Year Development Plan (1969-1974), the policy of ujamaa was translated into a basic-needs strategy in which the four main objectives of development were defined as provision of an adequate and balanced diet, sufficient good clothing, decent housing, and educational opportunities for all (16).
In his presentation of the plan to the TANU Conference in May 1969, the President elaborated on the important role of improved nutrition:
I have talked at length about this question of food because the foundation of development is people. A hungry person cannot bring progress. He is weak of body and also weak of mind. This must always be remembered, especially in relation to children. When a child is not well fed, he will not grow properly-he will be deformed, and his intelligence will be affected also; he will not reach to his full potential. The question of sufficient food, and good food, is absolutely vital to the development of our people, in both towns and villages. 
In 1971 a new health policy was launched. Emphasis was put on the development of rural health services and on preventive rather than curative measures. A very ambitious programme has been implemented since 1972. Decentralization and villagization made it possible to reach almost everybody, and in Tanzania today health service coverage is unusually high (18).
In 1973, after years of discussions and work in committees, the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) was established. The Centre is a semi-autonomous parastatal organization controlled by a board of directors which is chaired by the Minister for Health, who forms the link with the Government. However, it was not until 1977-1978 that the Centre managed to recruit enough qualified staff for its work.
The objectives of the work of the TFNC are stated in the Act of Parliament by which it was established (19). Of the ten objectives, five refer to food and nutrition policy and planning. It is stated that the Centre should:
- plan and initiate food and nutrition programmes for the benefit of the people of Tanzania;
- review and revise existing food and nutrition programmes;
- formulate, for incorporation in the national development plans, plans relating to food and nutrition for the benefit of the people of Tanzania;
- provide facilities for training in subjects relating to food and nutrition;
- carry out research in matters relating to food and nutrition.
One of the first tasks of the Centre was to submit a food and nutrition policy proposal to the National Planning Commission for inclusion in the Third Five-Year Development Plan (1976-1981). This plan was formulated round nine main objectives, and "self-sufficiency of food by 1981" was given highest priority among them.
It soon became very clear that much of the work in the fields of food, health, and nutrition would benefit from a national food and nutrition policy. The TFNC took the lead in developing such a policy. In order to work out a feasible and realistic policy and to involve planners from all levels in its development, a pragmatic socialist approach was adopted and a number of projects dealing with data collection, nutrition planning, surveys, and surveillance were started.
FOOD AND NUTRITION PLANNING
Initially a number of approaches to nutrition planning were studied and discussed in the TFNC. The method suggested by Joy (20) and the FAD/WHO (21) was given special attention, but it soon became clear that this approach was not appropriate for Tanzania, mainly because of the totally unrealistic requirement for data but also because of the hidden political bias towards neoclassical economics. Other suggested methods and approaches were also found very difficult to use. The main conclusion drawn from the first year's work was that different socio-economic contexts call for different food and nutrition planning approaches. The models and methods presented in most of the literature and by aid organizations were not very appropriate for the socialist transformation of Tanzania.
This issue was discussed by a group in a conference at Berkeley, California, USA, in April 1977 (22), where the following conclusions were reached:
- Food and nutrition planning is never politically neutral; food and nutrition planners play a political role.
- Food and nutrition planning approaches must always be assessed in specific politico-economic context. A consensus of what nutrition planning should be in a general sense can only refer to some technical aspects, the role of which is minor to the appropriate political design.
- The objective of food and nutrition planning should not only be to improve the nutritional situation for the underprivileged; it should also contribute to the upheaval of those processes in the society that are behind poverty, ignorance, and malnutrition.
- Nutrition planning is an important field of research but all value judgements must be clearly stated.
- Foreign assistance in the field of food and nutrition planning should support initiatives in the developing countries and consider the relationships between overdevelopment and underdevelopment.
These five conclusions were strongly supported by the TFNC and used as guidelines for the work.
A community-oriented strategy was developed, in which planning from the village level with participation of village planners was aimed at.
VILLAGE FOOD PRODUCTION MODEL
Considering all the specific constraints and possibilities for village-level planning in Tanzania, a model for village agricultural planning towards nutritional goals was developed by the TFNC in co-operation with a number of villages.
This "village food production model" was worked out with the following conditions in mind:
- it should be simple enough to be useful for village-level planners;
- it should be flexible to allow for both simplifications and sophistications;
- it should be scientifically correct, that is, based on present knowledge of human nutrition;
- it should reflect the policy of ujamaa and self-reliance.
The model that was finally adopted contains a four-step process. The steps are briefly described below. It can best be understood by the example of a planning form shown in figure 1.
1. Estimate of Village Food Needs
Annual energy needs for four categories of people - pregnant and lactating women, men and other women, big children (8-15 years), and small children (0-7 years) - are determined and pre-printed on planning forms. The annual aggregate needs of the village for energy and protein are easily calculated once the number of people in each category is known. In the example in figure 1, a village of 600 people is assumed, and the total annual needs for energy and protein are estimated at 2,125 GJ and 10,150 kg respectively.
2. Crop Pattern and Expected Energy and Protein Returns per Hectare
Crop patterns (pure stand or mixed cropping) common to the village are listed, and expected yields (kg/ha) of each crop are estimated. In listing the possible crop patterns, both ecological and consumer constraints must be considered. A village with bananas as the staple food cannot change overnight into one predominantly dependent on maize. The estimation of expected crop yields is a difficult but crucial step. Here the villagers' own experience should be used. In the example, maize (with an expected crop yield of 700 kg/ha), maize mixed with beans (500 kg/ha and 300 kg/ha respectively), cassava (800 kg/ha), and beans (400 kg/ha) are four suggested crop patterns.
Estimated yields of energy (GJ/ha) and protein (kg/ha) are then calculated for each crop pattern. Tables 2 and 3 show these values for various crops at different levels of crop yield; for a single-crop pattern, the appropriate values can simply be taken from the tables and entered on the planning form. Thus, for maize, with an estimated crop yield of 700 kg/ha in our example, the expected energy yield would be 8.4 GJ/ha according to table 2, and the expected protein yield would be 49 kg/ha according to table 3. For a multi-crop pattern, the expected energy and protein yields are easily calculated, as shown in figure 1 for the combination of maize and beans.
3. Food Production Plan
The task now is to find the best combination of crop patterns to maximize energy and protein output on a given area or to minimize the area to achieve a given output. A given area can be used in a number of different ways. The model is simple enough to allow for a trial and error exercise.
Year______________________________________ Calculated by_________________
1. VILLAGE FOOD NEEDS
Number in village
Annual energy needs (GJ)
Annual protein needs (Kg)
|Pregnant and lactatic women||150||x 4.4 =||660||x 22 =||3.300|
|Men and other women||250||x 3.7 =||925||x 17 =||4.250|
|100||x 3.2 =||320||x 15 =||1.500|
|100||x 2.2 =||220||x 11 =||1.100|
2. CROP PATTERN AND EXPECTED ENERGY AND PROTEIN RETURNS PER HECTARE
Crop pattern (kg/ha)
1. Maize (700kg/ha)
2. Maize + beans (500+300 kg/ha)
|4. Beans (400 kg/ha)|
|Type opf crop||energy (GJ/ha)||protein (kg/ha)||energy (GJ/ha)||protein (kg/ha)||energy (GJ/ha)||protein (kg/ha)||energy (GJ/ha)||protein (kg/ha)|
3. ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTION PLANS
|area (ha)||energy (GJ)||protein (kg)||area (ha)||energy (GJ)||protein (kg)||area (ha)||energy (GJ)||protein (kg)||area (ha)||energy (GJ)||protein (kg)|
TABLE 2. Energy Yields of Various Crops (GJ/ha) at Different Levels of Crop Yield
Vertical lines indicate the range of normal yields in
* Sweet potatoes.
** Irish potatoes Source: Tanzania Food Tables (23).
TABLE 3. Protein Yields of Various Crops (kg/ha) at Different Levels of Crop Yield
|Cereals||Beans||Rice||Groundnuts (shelled)||Cassava (wet)||Potatoes||Bananas|
Vertical lines indicate the range of normal yields in
* Sweet potatoes
** Irish potatoes Source: Tanzania Food Tables (23)
In the example in figure 1,200 hectares are divided in three different ways. In the first attempt the whole area is used for maize. Two hundred hectares of maize give 200 x 8.4 = 1,680 GJ and 200 x 49 = 9,800 kg protein. Of the attempts shown, the third attempt is the best one. It gives 4,490 GJ and 14,100 kg protein, which is far more than the required 2,125 GJ and 10,150 kg protein. In this case the area for food crops may be reduced.
If no crop pattern provides enough energy and protein, the area of cultivation must be increased to the point where the supply/output will be at least 120-130 per cent of the needs, depending on the variation in estimated yields and the degree of food security wanted.
A greatly simplified version of this model was also developed. In this the needs are expressed in numbers of bags of basic cereals per adult and child per year. The yields are also expressed in bags per hectare. Although grossly oversimplified, it was thought that it could be useful for rough estimates and also that it was the only model feasible in villages without any trained human resources.
A training manual based on this model was developed and tested in a number of training situations both in and outside the TFNC. It was accepted by the Prime Minister's Office to be included in the curriculum for the training of the previously mentioned village management technicians. This made it possible to reach a large number of villages in a short time.
The manual briefly describes some basic facts in nutrition. Only energy and protein are considered in the quantitative planning exercise, but the need to supplement the diet with food containing vitamins and trace minerals is stressed. Also, all animal production is excluded, because it does not play any significant role, except in pastoral and fishing villages. Preprinted forms, as shown in figure 1 and conversion tables, as shown in tables 2 and 3, were also included in the manual.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS FROM THE USE OF THE MODEL
In spite of all statements made by the Party and the Government to the effect that food production would be given priority, it was sometimes difficult to convince the Government authorities of the needs for nutrition-based planning of the agricultural production. It soon became evident that the important effect of presenting and using the model was the structured discussion that was generated. The model helps in focusing on the appropriate potential interventions. The relationships among changes in crop patterns, yields, area, and output are made clear and simple enough to estimate the probable results of any change.
The inclusion of the manual in the training of village management technicians was very important for testing and improving the model, but the time allocated for it in the curriculum was far too short. This was ascertained by interviewing some village management technicians working in villages. Their assessment was as follows:
- the manual and the model were very useful and appropriate to the conditions prevailing in the villages;
- the time allocated in their training programme for the food production planning exercise had been far too short;
- the training had, however, created an awareness of the needs and possibilities of village-level food production planning towards nutritional goals.
The model was also used in a detailed assessment of the 1977/1978 food plans in 50 villages in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region (24). It was found that in almost all cases the planned production far exceeded the estimated requirements. These findings encouraged the TFNC and some of the district officials, including a few village management technicians to try to find out why malnutrition was so prevalent in spite of obviously surplus food production (2). The investigation gave clear evidence of two explanations: first, the peasants were encouraged to sell too much of their crops to the National Milling Corporation (the parastatal organization for procurement of cereals), and, secondly, the food-storage losses were very high. This is a typical example of how malnutrition cannot be solved by increased food production alone.
The whole concept of food and nutrition planning was also discussed thoroughly during team visits to all 20 regions in 1977-1978. The model often proved a useful basis on which to structure these discussions, and a considerable number of regional and district planners studied the manual and found it useful for their future work. In some cases, e.g. in Lindi Region, the nutritional implication of the regional agricultural plan was assessed (25).
The model was also elaborated into a linear programming model with the satisfaction of nutritional needs as the objective function and yields, consumer preferences, etc. as conditioning variables. This was done in co-operation with the mathematical department of the University of Dar es Salaam. Several M. Sc. students worked on specific problems in order to apply the optimization theory in nutrition planning. Some of the work formed a part of a textbook produced for university students (26).
In conclusion, it seems as if Tanzania during the last ten years has developed a unique institutional structure for a more efficient mobilization of local resources-human, material, and technical. Since decentralization the relative emphasis has been changed from vertical to horizontal planning (13). Vertical planning uses a sectoral approach, while horizontal planning is multisectoral in nature. The latter lends itself more to local level planning with popular participation. The change is, however, far from complete. The villages in Tanzania still have neither the power nor the trained human resources to fully adopt a decentralized horizontal approach to planning. it is questionable whether appointing village managers and village management technicians is the correct response by the Government to the needs and the demands of the villages to participate in the process of planning the rural transformation. In discussing the village food production model, open conflict sometimes arose between the elected village party chairman, who gave support to a food-first strategy, and the Government-appointed, and also higher paid, village manager, who was most interested in the commercial output of the village. This conflict reflects the difficulties of cooperation between popular-based political representatives and government officials, but this institutional development, although as yet far from perfect, has, in itself, created for the first time a better forum for a more direct dialogue between the village and the Government.
1. V.P, Kimati, Protein Calory Malnutrition: Childhood PCM and Measles in Tanzania (Tanzania Publishing House, Dar es Salaam, 1978).
2. O. Mgaza, Nutritional Problems and Policy in Tanzania, Cornell International Nutrition Monograph Series, no. 7 (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, 1980).
3. U. Jonsson, "The Causes of Hunger," Food and Nutr. Bull., 3, no. 2: 1-9 (1981).
4. T.N. Maletnlema, S.A. Mohammed, and J. McKaag, "Human Nutrition Activities in Tanzania" (Human Nutrition Unit, Ministry of Health, Dar es Salaam, 1973).
5. U. Jonsson, "Towards a Food and Nutrition Policy in Tanzania," Food Policy, 5, no. 2: 143-147 (1980).
6. The World Bank (IBRD), Tanzania Agricultural and Rural Development Study, vol. 1, main report (1974).
7. The World Bank (IBRD), The Economic Development of Tanganyiko: Report by IBRD (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., USA, 1961).
8. Government of Tanzania, Rural Settlement Commission, Report on the Village Settlement Programme (Government Printer, Dar es Salaam, 1966).
9. J. Nyerere, Socialism and Rural Devolopment (Government Printer, Dar es Salaam,1968).
10. Mwongozo: The Party Guidelines (Printpak, Dar es Salaam, 1971).
11. A. Coulson, "Agricultural Policies in Mainland Tanzania," Review of African Political Economy, no .10, p. 74 (1978).
12. G. Hyden, Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania: Underdevelopment and on Uncaptured Peasantry ( Heinemann, London, 1980).
13. S.S. Mushi, "Popular Participation and Regional Development Planning in Tanzania: The Politics of Decentralized Administration," Discussion Paper no. 77, Decentralization Research Unit, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, 1977.
14. R.R. Scott, "Preliminary Survey of Nutrition among the Natives of Tanganyika Territory, " report of the Government Committee for Human Nutrition (1937),
15. G. M. Balleto, "A Nutritional Survey in the Central Province of Tanganyika, "East African Medical Journal, 31: 459,
16. Government of Tanzania, Tanzania Second Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, vols. 1-4 (Government Printer, Dar es Salaam, 1969).
17. J. Nyerere, "Speech by the President et the TANU Biannual Conference" (May 1976).
18. Ministry of Health, "Evaluation of the Health Sector 1979 Report," 2 vols. (Dar es Salaam, 1980).
19. Government of Tanzania, The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre Act of Parliament (Government Printer, Dar es Salaam, 1973).
20. L. Joy, "Food and Nutrition Planning," Journal of Agricultural Economics, 24, no.1: 196-197 (1973).
21. FAD/WHO, Food and Nutrition Strategies in National Development, 9th Report of the Joint FAD/WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition, Tech. Report Series, 584 (WHO, Geneva, 1976).
22. L, Joy, ea., Nutrition Planning: The State of the Art (IPC Science and Technology Press Ltd., London, 1978).
23. A.L.D. Marealle, Tanzania Food Tables (East African Literature Bureau, Dar es Salaam, 1974).
24. N.W. Shagude and S.M. Sutta, "Village Food Production Plan Review," TFNC Internal Report no. 140 (1978).
25. U. Jonsson, "Food Production Planning in Lindi Region," TFNC Internal Report no. 116 (1978).
26. C. Schweigmann, "Doing Mathematics in a Developing Country" (Tanzania Publishing House, Dar es Salaam, 1979).
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