June 29, 2020
Information collection and analysis of agricultural data have been a major challenge in Tanzania. The existing reporting system (e.g. information on crop yields and the number of livestock) from the village level to the central government level has been weak and the central government has difficulties in assessing the actual situation obtaining in the sector.
In these circumstances, the "Project for the Capacity Development on Data Collection, Analysis and Data-based Reporting under ASDP", which is a technical cooperation project between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been supporting the development of Agricultural Routine Data System (ARDS) and its operation, which enable to address the issues of agricultural data collection, reporting, and analysis imperative for decision making of policymakers and government officials.
ARDS is a data collection and reporting system of Tanzania's agricultural sector. Using paper-based format, the agricultural extension officers in wards and villages collect data during their fieldwork and submit those in a regular interval to the headquarters of the concerned Local Government Authorities (LGAs). The system has been improved remarkably since the beginning of the Agricultural Sector Development Programme 1 (ASDP1).
However, to ensure the quality of submitted data and sustainable ARDS operation, pre-service training program for future agricultural extension officers (students at MATI, i.e. Ministry of Agriculture Training Institutes) was desired. In June 2020, the project organized a pilot training program (TOT, i.e. "Training of Trainers" program) to build capacity of the MATI tutors and to create a teaching module to teach students on agricultural data collection methodologies, ARDS and ARDS Web Portal.
The intervention/approach of the training was specifically made to enable MATI tutors to become experts in the following areas:
The above training programs started on 8 June 2020 for MATI Mbeya Region. Moreover, a trial workshop was also organized for facilitators and tutors from MATI Uyole, Igurusi and Inyala. In addition to the trial workshop, the two-day sessions were held for discussing and refining the draft training materials for MATI tutors.
The TOT program was successful and facilitators together with the MATI tutors managed to refine drafted training materials (i.e. Training manuals and Lessons) ready for roll out to other MATIs. A total of 6 participants attended the workshop which was graced by the attendance of Principal of MATI Uyole who opened it on 8 June 2020. This program will continue up to the end of July 2020 covering other MATIs all over mainland Tanzania.
Despite the spread of COVID-19 epidemic around the world, development of agriculture is one of the most important elements for the whole development of Tanzania, and the agricultural data are key for suitable policymaking of it. With support from JICA through its ARDS project, the Monitoring and Evaluation Thematic Working Group (TWG) of Agricultural Sector Lead Ministries, especially Ministry of Agriculture, initiated this activity. Needless to say, the events are conducted with serious consideration to preventive measures of spreading of COVID-19 infection; the meetings and trainings are conducted in a smaller scale in separate places with hygienic standards (face masks, disinfectants, measuring scan temperature).
One of the facilitator from M&E TWG delivering materials to MATI tutors on ARDS
An incorporated administrative agency in charge of administering Japan's ODA (Official Development Assistance), is one of the world's largest bilateral aid agency supporting socioeconomic development in developing countries in different regions of the world. JICA has been a long-time partner of Tanzania for more than 50 years in many sectors since 1962.