Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) is a national farmers organisation which brings together small holder farmers from all regions of Tanzania in order to have a common voice to defend economic, social, cultural and political interests of smallholder farmers. Founded in 1993, MVIWATA aspires to empower smallholder economically and socially farmers through capacity building and undertake lobbying and advocacy especially by strengthening their groups and networks, facilitating communication and learning so that they are capable of defending their interests.
MVIWATA was founded by 22 innovative farmers from Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro, Tanga and Rukwa regions for the purpose of creating a farmer-to-farmer exchange forum as a means of enhancing communication among smallholder farmers. Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) through its Strengthening Communication Project (SUA-SCOM) guided the initial process in the formation of MVIWATA.
Literally, MVIWATA is Swahili an acronym for the National Network of Small-Scale Farmers Groups in Tanzania.
It was registered in 1995 under the Society Ordinance Act (Registration number SO 8612). In 2000 MVIWATA was registered as a Trust Fund under the Trustees Act of 1956. Following the introduction of the Non-governmental Act of 2002, MVIWATA was received a compliance certificate in 2007. Under this Act, MVIWATA is a non-profit private organisation. The national office of MVIWATA is situated in Morogoro town.
To unite smallscale farmers (including all small holder producers, whose livelihood depend on land such as pastoralists and fisher folks) in order to defend their interests and address together the challenges of farmers.
To strengthen farmers’ groups and networks, facilitate communication and learning among farmers for the purpose of defending the interests of small scale farmers.
To become a strong national farmers’ organisation that will guarantee small-scale farmers’ participation
“Mtetezi wa Mkulima ni Mkulima Mwenyewe”
The slogan of MVIWATA is Mtetezi wa Mkulima ni Mkulima Mwenyewe literally means the defender of a farmer is the farmer.
This slogan underlines the philosophy of MVIWATA that farmers are the first change agents of their own lives!
MVIWATA was formed to address challenges facing smallholder farmers such as lack of a strong organisation of small scale farmers in the country, exclusion of small scale farmers from decision making process on matters that touch the welfare of small scale farmers and under-representation or complete lack of representation of small scale farmers in decision making bodies, low prices of agricultural produce, unreliable markets and lack of access to financial services. To address these challenges, MVIWATA has been implementing various interventions focusing on lobbying and advocacy and economic empowerment of small-scale farmers. These interventions are based on the five years Strategic Plan of MVIWATA (2010 – 2014).
MVIWATA is organized into three levels as follows:
1. National level:
Comprises of all members of the network as represented by the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Council, the Board of Directors and the management team.
The Board of Directors and the Management has the responsibilities of overseeing that the overall mission and strategic orientations of the network are adhered to and that services are provided to members. They have further roles of facilitating technical support as well mobilising resources.
The Board of Directors is composed of 9 elected members and headed by the Chairperson. The Council is composed of the board members and leaders of the middle level networks. Management team is composed of staff with various disciplines and headed by the Executive Director.
2. Middle level:
Composed of farmers’ networks at regional or district level. It has a Steering Committee and has the responsibility of mobilising members in its area. Where a management of middle level network exists, it has the responsibilities of providing technical support to member and resource mobilisation. Middle level networks liaise with the national level and local networks.
3. Local networks:
These are farmers groups organised in networks at village and ward levels and are the building blocks of the middle level and national networks.