LWR began its work in Tanzania in 1961 distributing food to a population suffering from a food crisis resulting from a combination of drought and floods. LWR continues to work in Tanzania with an emphasis on capacity strengthening of farmer organizations and long-term food security. LWR programs are implemented through farmer organizations and faith-based organizations throughout the country, with a concentration in Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, and Morogoro regions.
AGRICULTURE VALUE CHAINS
Small-holder farmers often have a marginal role in value chains. By investing resources in improved practices for growing, processing and storing their crops, farmers can increase the quantity and quality of their crops, allowing them to maximize the benefits from their production. These benefits are multiplied when farmers work through farmer organizations.
LWR has worked with a number of farmer groups across the country around the production of cash crops such as grapes, tomato, rice, coffee, beans, potatoes, oil seeds and vegetables for household consumption and sale on the market. LWR supports farmer organizations to provide services to their members including agricultural experts to assist farmers with improved planting, cultivation, harvesting and post-harvesting techniques. Farmer organizations also provide access to financial services so farmers can make needed investments, buy inputs in bulk and market their products as a group to get reliable markets and the best prices.
CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE
In arid regions of Tanzania, small-scale farmers need skills to adapt to the changing and uncertain cycle of drought and flooding. In central Tanzania, LWR is working with several community groups to increase their knowledge, skills and institutional capacities to preserve and manage their natural resources in ways that improve their crop and livestock production. Climate smart agriculture techniques include agroforestry, environmentally friendly planting practices, soil conservation and nutrient management, sustainable water access and use, environmentally sensitive pest management, crop diversification and the promotion of drought-resistant crop varieties.
LWR works with farmer organizations to strengthen their technical and organizational capacities so that they can provide sustainable, equitable and quality services to their members. Working together with partners, LWR co-develops action plans adapted to the specific capacity strengthening needs of each organization. Plans are often focused on transparency and governance, policies and procedures and the provision of services such as agricultural extension, access to credit, discounted inputs and sales to a higher value market. Such services increase farmer crop productivity and income, demonstrating the value of collective action and increasing the willingness of farmers to pay for such services.
EMERGENCY NON-FOOD ITEMS
Since 1988, LWR partner, Christian Council of Tanzania, has been distributing Quilts and Personal Care Kits made and assembled by US Lutherans to people living in care facilities. These homes provide critical care, often long term, for vulnerable members of the community, such as orphans, people living with leprosy and the elderly.