LAND OWNERSHIP OF THE FARMERS IN TANZANIA
In February 1982, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania came to Delhi to receive the 1981 Third World Prize. Since he was very interested in agriculture, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked me to accompany him to Ludhiana and to Pantnagar to show him our agricultural universities. I took Nyerere around to a number of places in the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. On our return to Delhi he told Indira Gandhi that he would like me to visit Tanzania to advise them on agricultural practices. He was concerned that, in spite of his policy of collectivisation of farm production (called ujamaa), agriculture had not made progress in Tanzania. I was to go in April to IRRI to take over as DG, so a couple of months earlier I went to Tanzania and spent about 10 days there. I found that because farming was collectivised, individual farmers did not have a sense of ownership of the land and were therefore disinterested in crop production. I suggested that farmers must be held responsible for the crops they grew and that fair prices must be paid for commodities. Their individual efforts must be recognised so that farmers have a stake in agricultural production. Nyerere was open to suggestions and agreed that farmers must have a sense of pride in what they are doing. He asked his officers to put my ideas into action.
I also recommended for an agriculture university to be established in Tanzania. In 1984, the Sokoine University of Agriculture was set up at Morogoro.
When I was in IRRI we tried to help them in developing rice research under the agriculture university and we provided manpower support through training programmes. At that time China was also helping Tanzania in a big way in agriculture, so in some aspects it gave way to competitiveness. But the fact remains that both the Indian and IRRI contributions were of great importance in the revival of Tanzanian agriculture.