Oxfam Reveals the Grow Tanzania Ambassadors

 A billion people – one in seven of the world’s population – go to bed hungry every day. Tanzania’s current population of 45 million people is expected to triple to 138 million* by 2050, meaning millions more mouths to feed and diversification of land use. It is possible for us to feed all of them, but only if we take action now.
Large-scale land investments have been proposed as a solution to this challenge – but most are not for producing food and in reality even displace food production.

The fact is, people are not going hungry because there is not enough food produced – they are hungry because they do not have access to that food, they don’t have land to produce for themselves, and they don’t have money to buy the food. Ironically, much of our food goes to waste. People go hungry in Dar es Salaam today while the shops are full of food and produce is dumped.
Displacing women from the land where they grow food, with the justification that larger investment is needed, is ridiculous and only worsens the problem. We can have piles of food alongside masses of people going hungry.

 In the Mama Shujaa Wa Chakula “Female Food Hero” 2012 competition, we analysed forms filled in by 4505 women farmers from 18 regions of Tanzania, in an attempt to get a real picture of who the country’s small-scale producers really are. 86% of small-scale women farmers have primary education or lower (15% of them never went to school). If they are forced off their land or can’t farm, the women’s lack of education means they are unlikely to find new jobs in the so-called booming service industry.

 42% of the women were single, widowed or divorced – therefore heading the household and the main earner. Failure to support women farmers will eventually sink these families into extreme poverty and dire need of food aid.
Disturbingly, only 5% of the women surveyed own land. 43.7% are farming on land owned by husbands and 34.6% on family-owned land. In a country thought to have a millions  of bare land, 9% of women farmers are renting or leasing plots from other people.

 “Farming is the most sustainable sector in Tanzania. We should support small scale farmers not only because they provide food for their families and our nation, or because it adds up to our national GDP, but also because there is 80% of employment that we must protect,” says Halima Mdee, the MP for Kawe.
 Women farmers have been the heart and source of stability in the family and the nation. It’s through them that the nation has been fed – but the infrastructure, technology, policies and practices has failed them. It is practically easier and more profitable to transport apples from South Africa or the UK than to transport the same from Lushoto.
 This is why Oxfam GROW campaign has brought together a team of seven celebrities to work and campaign with women small-scale producers, with the vision of ensuring that nobody goes to bed hungry. We believe hunger and famine are a result of choices that we made, and that women and children are particularly affected by the injustices of the current food system. GROW believes the future of sustainable food production lies in small scale production.

 GROW calls for the Government and private sector to invest in small scale farmers, especially in methods of climate change adaptation and building resilience, such as improving irrigation, improved seeds, infrastructure and markets. Farmers are getting the minimal prices possible for their crops while consumers are paying the maximum price for their food. Individuals and institutions should support small-scale producers by buying local food at a fair price. Deliberate efforts and strategy should be deployed to make sure women farmers own land.
 The Ambassadors for Grow Tanzania are....
Halima MdeeMP, Kawe “Small scale farming (agriculture) is the only sustainable sector. We should invest and support farmers not just because they make the nation food  secure, but also because it contributes to 40% of Tanzania GDP and employs 80% of Tanzania”
 Masoud Ali Kipanya- CartoonistPeople can live with one jeans and one t-shirt, you can opt not to watch TV or go to club, but people need to eat, several times a day. There are no reasons whatsoever for farmers to be poor!”
 Dina Marious – Radio Presenter “Every time I saw women, men, and children in dire need of food while there is enough , I knew there is problem that need to be fixed”

 Shamim Mwasha – Fashion Blogger “I don’t want to see people going to bed hungry or dying just because my aunt (small scale producer) failed or had to stop to produce. We need to act now”
 Jacob Stephen – Actor “I am real touched, I am dedicating my career and life to stand with small scale farmers and change the unfair food system. Join us!”
  Khadija Mwanamboka- Fashion Designer “I am very concerned. I expected to see happy and proud farmers because they feed millions of people. But you have all the reasons to be sad, the challenges you face are huge. Something need to be done”
And Shyrose Bhanji -MP, East African Community
All statistics and facts, *According to population Bureu, Carl Haub: 2012

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