Private sector participation in delivering agricultural services to smallholder farmers in Tanzania: the case of agricultural inputs in Hai district, Kilimanjaro region

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Sokoine university of agriculture.


The average intensity of fertilizer use throughout Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains much lower than elsewhere and has been virtually stagnant during the past decade. Farmers’ failure to intensify agricultural production in a manner that maintains soil productivity is viewed as a key cause of decline in soil quality in many rural areas in SSA. There is general agreement that the improvements in soil fertility needed to stimulate agricultural productivity growth, improved food security, and increases in rural incomes will require substantial increases in fertilizer use in combination with improved land husbandry practices. Under economic policy reforms in agriculture, the private sector in Tanzania through input delivery services was expected to create incentives for farmers to adopt new farming methods. However, the response from the private sector was and still slow. The study aimed at determining the contributing factors to low participation of the private sector in delivering agricultural inputs to farmers. Limiting availability and accessibility of inputs by the majority of farmers was found to be one of the factors . The second factor was found to be the small market of agricultural inputs associated with poor quality of extension services offered to farmers. The third factor was low awareness of stakeholders on the benefits and consequences of implementing the privatization policy. The last factor was the introduction of subsidy programme which according to this study hindered the emergence and effective operation of the private sector. Several recommendations were given to encourage the private sector. These include: improvement of rural infrastructure; building the capacity of local inputs retailers through training, and trade finance; designing conducive and stable system of distributing subsidized inputs to poor farmers without undermining the profitability of inputs retailers; maintaining efficiency and quality of inputs distributed to farmers by formulating and enforcing regulations; and reducing the long marketing channels of inputs distribution which contribute to high costs of inputs.



Agricultural production, Soil productivity, Food security, Rural income, Feterlizer, Land husbandry