Expanding collaboration in horticulture water challenges in Pangani basin

Arusha, 4 June, 2015 — The Tanzania Horticultural association (TAHA), the Pangani Basin Water Board (PBWB) and 2030 WRG are collaborating to catalyze collective action in the Pangani basin. To this end, the Arusha Kilimanjaro-Meru Water Stewardship Workshop was organized where leading horticulture companies identified specific challenges and prioritized areas of critical interest.

Recognizing that water is becoming a pressing concern and certainly a longer-term risk faced by the horticulture industry in Tanzania, and the fact that water use pattern in the sub sector contributes to the pressure on allocation of the resource, TAHA, PBWB and 2030 WRG are collaborating to explore opportunities to address water-related concerns in horticulture areas of the Pangani basin – upstream Nyumba ya Mungu Dam.

Identifying challenges

Within this context, the Kilimanjaro-Meru Water Stewardship Workshop was a first opportunity to engage leading horticulture companies in identifying specific challenges and prioritizing areas of critical interest and momentum. The meeting aimed to extend the partnership to horticultural actors in Moshi and Arusha, to share and discuss Water Resources Management Challenges in the Sub Basin, and to strategize a way forward to collectively address the challenges.

Packaging opporunities at scale

In their opening remarks, TAHA and PBWB highlighted the urgency of bringing public and private players together around a common agenda to improve water stewardship in the basin in an effort to address the growing water scarcity challenges faced by businesses and the population. Horticulture in the Kilimanjaro and Meru catchment areas can serve as a good place to initiate a joint water stewardship initiative but with a view to expand to other sectors and in time, to other geographical locations. Several horticulture companies are already implementing relevant activities with their surrounding communities, often in partnership with other private sector solution providers and with development partners. While several private sector initiatives are already underway to serve smallholder farmers (SHs), the challenge is in identifying and packaging the opportunities at an attractive scale (e.g. pools of smallholder farmers, adequate technologies and a clear business case).

Institutional governance

The Government of Tanzania also has significant initiatives, such as the newly created National Irrigation Commission, investments made in SH irrigation infrastructure by the PBWB, the emerging Agriculture Development Bank and the Catalytic Fund (to be implemented in the SAGCOT area). The Government is also working to develop the institutional governance structure provided for in the Water Act, and has recently approved the creation of additional catchment committees in the Pangani basin (including Kikuletwa Catchment). The government can also play a key part through improvements of the investment climate.

The main challenges highlighted in the workshop include (i) difficulty to negotiate water-sharing agreements with upstream water users and challenge to introduce water pricing; (ii) inefficient SH water use and insufficient infrastructures; and (iii) need to review a broader range of water use efficiency measures and explore crop-specific agricultural practices.

Priority action areas

Emerging priority action areas include raising awareness to more catchment actors regarding the importance and urgency, on the one hand, of joint catchment management, equitable allocation of shared water resources, water use efficiency and water rights; and, on the other hand, of water efficiency solutions, business case for various improved agricultural techniques, and innovative SH-inclusive business strategies involving multiple risk-sharing partners.

Another priority calls for efforts to systematically identify and prioritize a pipeline of SH farmer water productivity opportunities, while also including private sector, government and development partners around each opportunity. Working with the PBWB and its branches is a necessary step to prioritize strategic public sector investments where strong opportunities exist to leverage private sector action. At the same time, policy advocacy concerns include the need for identifying, documenting, justifying, and feeding into urgent reforms linked to water resources, particularly linked to incentivizing water use efficiency. Finally, it is important to ensure proper results measurement, monitoring and evaluation of activities under the joint action plan so that all contributing partners can use the outputs in their own reporting.

Joint business plan

In their closing remarks, TAHA and the PBWB indicated that this was only the beginning of a process of collective planning and action to address the urgent water challenge in the catchment (Kilimanjaro and Meru catchments). The main next step is to generate a joint business plan for what will be branded as a new initiative though building on already ongoing partner activities. This will serve as a unifying action plan for water stewardship, with key activities, objectives and indicators (logframe) alongside budgets, incorporating ongoing and future activities relevant to these objectives.

About the partnership

The 2030 WRG Tanzania partnership was launched in 2013, following a high-level invitation from the Government of Tanzania to the 2030 Water Resources Group, and became operational in late 2014 with a public-private management board and a series of working groups.