Academics divided on 'Kilimo Kwanza' policy By Samuel Kamndaya Academicians are divided on whether or not, Tanzania�s new initiative dubbed as �Kilimo Kwanza� (Agriculture First) is the right path towards a green revolution. Those that spoke to The Citizen expressed mixed reactions as other questioned the uniqueness of the new initiative to all the failed past initiatives. In his independent views, the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) lecturer, Dr Damian Gabagambi feels the new initiative has nothing new than the failed initiatives of Kilimo ni Uti wa Mgongo wa Uchumi� (Agriculture is the backbone of the economy), Kilimo ni uhai (Agriculture is life) and Kilimo cha kufa na kupona (Life or death agriculture). Citing examples of Mexico, India and Malawi, Dr Gabagambi said developing agriculture requires not only well-crafted documents but also committed people to bringing about real change. But Prof Andrew Temu also from SUA feels Kilimo Kwanza is designed uniquely. �Kilimo Kwanza is the only initiative designed without force from outside... it is initiated by Tanzanians for Tanzanians... it does not seek to solicit funding from donors as is the case with most of the past initiatives,� he told The Citizen yesterday. Since most of the past initiatives had influence of donors, transferring the initiatives from donors to Tanzanians used to create problems at the implementation level, he said. Kilimo Kwanza has tried to provide a linkage between small-scale farmers and their medium and large-scale counterparts, something that was lacking in the past initiatives, urges Prof Temu. �Instead of mobilising FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into agriculture, we have, through Kilimo Kwanza, decided to sensitise local investors to engage themselves in large-scale commercial farming,� he said. Earlier, Dr Adolph Mkenda who lectures at the University of Dar es Salaam had told The Citizen that he finds no problem with the initiative but rather with whether or not it (the initiative) will help to hasten implementation of the country�s existing agriculture development strategies. �An initiative is, in itself, nothing than just a document meant to sensitise people to take on a certain activity... Kilimo Kwanza will therefore be meaningful if its intention is to add a new vigour to the implementation of the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS),� he told The Citizen yesterday. Tanzania approved the ASDS in 2001, with an objective of achieving a sustainable agricultural sector growth rate of five per cent per annum through transformation from subsistence to commercial agriculture. According to Dr Mkenda, many of the issues highlighted in the strategy have been replicated in the Kilimo Kwanza document. �While I have nothing against Kilimo Kwanza, I think the best way to develop our agricultural sector is to sit down and take a stock of what we have achieved since the ASDS became operational,� he intoned. But while the ASDS aims to achieve a five per cent per annum growth rate, the sector which employs an estimated 80 per cent of Tanzanians in the working age, grew by 3.3 per cent last year, a 0.7 per cent decline from the 2007 four per cent growth. Responding to questions by Tanzanians living in India in New Delhi on the first day of his four-day official visit to India, Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda said Kilimo Kwanza is not a new concept parse, rather it is the desire by the fourth phase government to implore a new vigour in transforming agriculture. The utmost aim, he said, is to allow the country to change from hand-hoe farming to farming using new technologies and tractors. Among issues highlighted in Kilimo Kwanza include the need to increase public spending on agriculture from the current 6.4 per cent to not less than 10 per cent of the national budget. This is in accordance with what was agreed upon by Sadc (Southern Africa Development Community) members at the Maputo 2003 summit.