Agricultural 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|
|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