tanzaniaAgricultural extension in Tanzania has been and still remains almost entirely financed by the public sector represented by the government through the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC). Prior to decentralization, MAFC had the mandate to provide extension services to the whole country. The excessive government dominance in the management of the sector did not provide room for coordination with other actors already supplementing extension delivery of the public system in the field. These other actors operate as private for-profit firms or private nonprofit agencies. The latter may be further classified into member-based organizations, such as producer and community organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are not member-based. In most cases, these private agencies do not specialize in providing advisory services but combine advisory services with other services. The need to create a more efficient and manageable organization guided the restructuring of MAFC.



Major reforms undertaken by the government intended to limit its role to the core functions of governance, rationalize the roles and functions of Ministries, downsize the civil service, and pass on commercial activities to the private sector. The basis of these reforms is provided by the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) which was formulated in 2000 and 2001. With the decentralization of extension services following the Local Government act No. 6 of 1999, the overall function of MAFC as far as extension services are concerned was reduced to providing technical support to the local authorities and an enabling environment for extension services to function at the farm level (Rutora & Mattee, 2001). The public sector withdrawal from direct production and provision of goods and services as well as reliance on centralized control and state ownership of the major means of production is reflected in the increased private sector and NGO participation in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural inputs and produce.

For many years, the Ministry of Agriculture has used its staff from the national level down to the field level to implement extension programs. With the decentralization leading to the creation of Local Government Authorities, the Ministry transferred its entire field staff to local government authorities in line with the district focus policy. This transfer reduced the level of involvement of the ministries and the number of technical staff for coordination activities. At the national level,

Tanzania public extension comprises 74 staff members and is managed by a team of 13 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011).    Only four staff member have a Master of Science degree, ten of them hold a bachelor degree and the rest of the team completed a 2-3 year agriculture diploma.  Women account for 69% of senior management staff.  There are 9 subject matter specialists, none of them has a graduate degree and 55% of which are female.  Field level extension workers constitute the bulk of staff (70%), all of them holding a 2 to 3 year agricultural diploma, and 86% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff.  The MEAS report (2010) indicated that the public sector does not employ in-service training staff, and ICT support services personnel (Table 1).

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Tanzania (Government or Ministry - based Extension Organization)

Major Categories of Extension Staff Secondary School diploma 2-3 yr. Ag diploma B.Sc. degree M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree Ph.D. degree
Gender F M F M F M F M F M
Senior Management Staff     3 1 3 2 3 1    
Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)     2 2 3 2        
Field Level Extension Staff     45 7            
Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff                    
In-Service Training Staff                    
Total Extension Staff: 74                      50 10 6 4 3 1    

Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011


Extension Providers

Major Institutions Providing Extension/advisory Services 

Public Sector

The public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives (MAFC), the Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MLDF), Sokoine University of Agriculture, other Education and Research institutions around the country. These institutions provide extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below:

  • Public Extension Institutions
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives (MAFC) www.kilimo.go.tz
    • Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC)
    • Temeke Municipal Council for County Level Operations
  • Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MLDF)
    •  Department of Research, Training, and Extension (DRTE)
  • Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing (MITM)
  • Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MoWI)
  • Prime Minister’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG)
  • Public Research and Education Institutions

Under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives there are seven agricultural research zonal centers that employ Zonal Research Extension Officers (ZRELO) in addition to the Department of Research and Development.

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives (MAFC)
    • Department of Research and Development
    • Central Zone: Livestock Research and Production Institute (LRPI)-Mpwapwa
    • Eastern Zone: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Ilonga
    • Lake Zone: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Ukiriguru
    • Northern Zone: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Selian
    • Southern Highlands: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Uyole
    • Southern Zone: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Naliendele
    • Western Zone: Agricultural Research Institute (ARI)-Tumbi
  • Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MLDF)
    • Department of Research Training, and Extension (DRTE)
  • Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension (SAFE)
    • Sokoine University of Agriculture

Private Sector Firms

The Government of Tanzania is utilizing the current economic reform platform to make it more attractive for the private sector to participate in the agricultural sector as inputs suppliers, service providers and producers. The private sector involved in agricultural development include private agribusiness firms which distribute and market agricultural inputs such as seeds, agrochemicals, and equipment; those which deal with processing; and those which procure agricultural products, especially cotton, coffee, tobacco, cashew nut and other cash crops. These private firms are profit making institutions which will be found in areas with high demand for their products. It is obvious that private agribusiness firms will not be located in rural areas, rather, they are mostly found in urban centers. Most of these firms do not have their own extension methodology. They dependent on government extension staff whom they pay and provide training on specific technical or business message to take to their clients. Locally based agribusiness firms are small in terms of capital and lack competent and qualified staff to provide services that fall in the domain of public goods. In the other hand, the big multinational firms including tobacco companies with large capital are not interested in directly financing extension services. Almost all private agribusiness firms are more concerned with making profit rather than empowering farmers and their communities. Two of the private firms are:    

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

Although traditionally extension services in Tanzania have generally been provided by the government with minimal involvement of the private sector, recently, several NGO and farmer-led initiatives have started to assist public extension in its work with the population. Currently, more than 200 NGOs are involved in various types of agricultural extension programs, either as a major activity itself or as part of an integrated rural development program. In addition to NGOs, big donors like Sasakawa Global 2000 and the Rural Integrated Project Support (RIPs) have joined hands to help take the burden away from the public sector by cutting down on expenses and improving management and staff professionalism through training (Rutatora & Mattee, 2001). It is observed that a good number of these NGOs and donors use participatory approaches to extension or a combination of some elements of the Training & Visit (T&V) system with participatory methods. Some of the NGOs and projects which are seen to be doing an effective job include:

  • Rural Integrated Project Support (RIPs)
  • INADES-Formation
  • Uluguru Mountain Agricultural Development Project (UMADEP) a Sokoine University of Agriculture-based project
  • Special Program on Food Security (SPFS) Hifadhi Mazingira Project (HIMA)
  • Southern Highlands Dairy Development Project (SHDDP)
  • Soil Erosion Control and Agroforestry Project (SECAP)
  • Soil Conservation and Agroforestry Project (SCAPA)
  • Total land care
  • Pelum Tanzania
  • RUCODIA, Ruvuma Commercialization and Diversification of Agriculture

Farmer-Based (Community-Based) Organizations and Cooperatives

It is well known that farmers have the tradition of organizing themselves at local level into membership-based entities such as associations and cooperatives. In Tanzania, farmers are organized into groups, associations, SACCOS, and networks and they are linked to the Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA). One of the goal of these organizations is to promote saving and gain access to credits. Farmer groups and/or associations can provide a better atmosphere in which new or improved technical information can be introduced and evaluated; have a multiplier effect in cases where farmer motivators or extensions are used; share of information and experiences, and with group support, help members to make better and more informed decisions. The following are examples of cooperatives and associations:

  • Rural supply cooperatives,
  • Land improvement cooperatives
  • Consumer cooperatives
  • Fishery cooperatives
  • Service cooperatives
  • Savings and credit Cooperatives Societies (SACCOS).
  • Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA)

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Tanzania. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.


Enabling Environment

Enabling (or Disabling) Environment

The major issues in the discussion of pluralistic extension systems in Tanzania are related to coordinating the system, ensuring adequate coverage of rural populations, assuring quality, and building capacity of service providers. Over time, extension and government staff has not paid adequate attention to participatory approach that could include programs recipients’ views and needs as a means to improve the content and delivery methods of extension programs. Several NGOs and farmer-led initiatives have neither been formally integrated into the extension system nor has their potential to reduce public costs and improve quality of extension services been fully exploited. Although the Ministry explicitly recognizes the need to coordinate extension efforts in the country and tried to set up coordination/linkage mechanisms (e.g. utilization of committees and fora) (MALD, 1992), in reality the level of coordination is not satisfactory.

The decentralization of agricultural extension activities to the Local Government Authorities is a positive step toward reducing extension cost to the government and efficiently reaching the target audience with desired extension programs. In the light of current decentralization of extension services to the districts, the success of the extension services in Tanzania will hinge to a large extent, on the effective partnership that can be forged among the key actors including the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, local government authorities, non-governmental organizations and the farmers themselves.



Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension 

Development of networks and use of low-cost ICTs enhance timely access to accurate and reliable information. Information and communication technologies (e-mail, internet, phone, radio, TV, print) are as yet tools that are underutilized in extension strategies. The level of utilization of ICTs in Tanzania is still low compared to the country’s potentials. Many agricultural extension practitioners recognize that an information technology revolution is unfolding, with tremendous and largely unrealized potential for rural development, even for poorer farmers. Several ICT tools commonly used in other African countries and different parts of the world are found in Tanzania today. Mobile services have been introduced in Tanzania and spread very rapidly to all parts of the country including rural areas. The 2009 World Bank statistics report indicated that 39.9 percent of the population of Tanzania own and operate a mobile phone.With mobile phones presently used for other services such as banking (paying bills, sending money, paying school fees), the technology could play a key role in extension services and information delivery.  The use of computers and access to internet service is increasing and agricultural extension system is using the technology to reach farmers. Tanzania is still low in the use of computers and internet services. One and a half percent of the population had access to internet in 2009. Different media have different applications depending on the type of information, and there is potential for cross-sectorial collaboration on information channels, products, and services. ICTs can complement other extension and knowledge services, but there is a critical need to know how farmers currently access information. The government of Tanzania needs to design and support policy environments and programs that use the right mix of media available for agricultural extension service delivery.



Training for Extension Professionals

For Tanzania to enhance the linkage between research and extension, it will have to improve the quality of its extension staff through training. Agricultural extension personnel are usually trained to work as general agricultural practitioners. In Tanzania, Universities and Colleges provide formal training on agricultural related fields. However, the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute Ukiriguru (MATIU) is the oldest Agricultural Institute tat stared formal long term training courses involving especially extensionists in January 1939. Also the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension education (SAFE) partners with MAFC and Sokoine University, a participating university to provide mid-career training to extension staff who currently works with MOFA and NGOs engaged in agricultural and rural development.



Statistical Indicators                                                                                    

Tanzania                                                                                                                     Year
Agricultural land (sq km) 349,500 2008
Agricultural land (% of land area) 39.5 2008
Arable land (hectares) 9,600,000 2008
Arable land (% of land area) 10.84 2008
Arable land (hectares per person) 0.23 2008
Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land) 6 2008
Agriculture, value added (% of GDP) 28.8 2009
Food production index (1999-2001 = 100) 134 2009
Food exports (% of merchandise exports) 35.5 2009
Food imports (% of merchandise imports) 8.9 2009
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) 500 2009
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)* 72.9 2009
Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15- 24) 76.4 2009
Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24) 97 2009
Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%) 78 2009
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) 20.2 2007
  30.6 2008
  39.9 2009
Internet users (per 100 people) 1.0 2007
  1.2 2008
  1.5 2009
Population, total 43,739,051 2009
Population density (people per sq. km of land area) 49.4 2009
Rural population 32,384,393 2009
Rural population (% of total population) 74 2009
Agricultural population*  31,585,000 2008
Agricultural population (% of total population)* 74 2008
Total economically active population in Agriculture* 20,985,000 2008
Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)* 77 2008
Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)* 55 2008

Source: The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org, *Food and Agriculture Organization, http://faostat.fao.org




MALD (Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development). 1992. National Agricultural and

Livestock Extension Policy Implementation Guidelines. MALD, Dar es Salaam.

Rutatora, D. F., and A. Z. Mattee Major. 2001. Agricultural Extension Providers in Tanzania.

African Study Monographs, 22(4): 155-173, December 2001. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://www.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kiroku/asm_normal/abstracts/pdf/22-4/155-173.pdf


# Senior Field DirectorRonhil Kiaro 2017-06-29 20:18
Am a Tanzanian Citizen and wishes to join your organization in changing Tanzanian farmers lives. I have vast experience in project management and field coordination activities.
Hope to here from you on the way forward.
# Senior Field DirectorRonhil Kiaro 2017-06-29 20:20
Am a Tanzanian Citizen and wishes to join your organization in changing Tanzanian farmers lives. I have vast experience in project management and field coordination activities.
Hope to hear from you on the way forward
# Welcome to GFRAS!GFRAS Webmaster 2017-06-29 20:46
Joining is easy, see at http://www.g-fras.org/en/community.html