One of Tanzania’s greatest resources is its people. Its population has a uniquely peaceful history in Africa since independence in 1961. Seventy-seven percent of the population lives in rural areas. Despite the increasing urbanization, about 90 percent of the population is involved in agriculture.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Roughly 39 percent of Tanzanians live below the food poverty line of less than a $1 a day. Poverty is more severe in rural areas compared with urban areas. Indeed, among the total poor population, the urban poor constitute about 13 percent of the population compared to 87 percent in rural areas.
The Tanzanian economy depends largely on agriculture, contributing about 50 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 54 percent of the nation’s Foreign Exchange earnings. The sector employs about 90 percent of the country‘s labor force. Agricultural development is crucial to both national economic development and poverty reduction. Population growth and resultant land pressure has forced families to cultivate marginal lands, many of which are highly erosive, with resultant environmental degradation and meager increase in food production not corresponding to the increased area farmed.
Heifer's Work in Tanzania
The Heifer International Tanzania program has evolved its approach not only to focus on in-kind livestock loans, but promote diverse species of livestock (dairy cattle and goats, pigs, poultry, donkeys, camels, bees and fish farming) and environmental conservation. Heifer Tanzania’s new programs promote gender awareness and cooperation within homes, and are better able to focus on marginalized groups (widows, widowers, orphans and vulnerable children) through provision of in-kind livestock loans and training. These new initiatives have sensitized other players in micro-enterprise development to adopt the approach used by Heifer International Tanzania, which inspires self-reliance, dignity and can be sustained by local communities.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Introducing improved livestock;
livestock breeding and management training; promoting agroecology and
developing community natural resource management plans (nRM)
Post-harvest management and processing: Smallholder dairy production
Market development: Helping farmers access markets
Technology: Dairy processing and cooling plants
Nutrition: Promote food security and sovereignty
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Recently I accompanied several employees of corporate supporter Elanco as they climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and raised money for Heifer International. The trek was challenging and magnificent. Here are a few things that other sources may not tell you about climbing the highest mountain in Africa.
After our descent from Kilimanjaro with the group of Elanco employees who are Heifer International supporters, I had the opportunity to visit the Kitomary family in Tanzania.
It was a long day, for the simple reason that you must minimize your time between 15k and 19k ft, and so the distance up and down must be compressed into one day, while moving only as fast as your cardio system can handle.