On 26 October 2023, there was a follow-up meeting for the Ifakara-Kilombero Food Hub with support from SUA and HELVETAS. The meeting was officiated by the Ifakara Town Council Agricultural, Livestock and Fisheries Officer (TALFO) on behalf of the Town Executive Director (TED). In his speech, the TALFO emphasised the importance of farmers and other stakeholders in the food value chain in Ifakara coming together and having a platform (Food Hub) to discuss different challenges faced and look at ways and opportunities to tackle the challenges. A total of 32 members attended the meeting representing farmers, pastoralists, fish farmers, processors, consumers, researchers, policymakers, millers, government extension officers, input suppliers, agro-dealers and media (Pambazuko radio), just to mention a few.

The main agenda of this meeting was to make a follow-up on the way forward from the previous meetings, discuss how the platform in Ifakara will run (make a guide/ manifesto) and set strategies on how to make the platform sustainable by considering the goals of establishing the platform.

The meeting started with the Food Hub secretary Ms. Margreth Churu presenting the minutes from the last meeting where the main issue for follow-up was for the selected leaders to develop a plan to guide the platform meetings, however, the secretariate did not manage to do it due to the reason that some of the members of the secretariate, especially those from the government were relocated to other districts hence they a missed coordination.

After the presentation, there were some questions from the participants regarding the background for the establishment of the platform and the role of the FoodLAND project in the Food Hub. Dr Dunia from the DALFO office explained the objectives of establishing such a food hub at the district level and its roles, while Ms Agnes Mahembe from HELVETAS explained the FoodLAND project and the role Food Hubs play in it. Many other questions raised by participants were clarified.

Thereafter, Mr. Foya Hozeniel, chairperson of the Mvomero Food Hub shared his experience in establishing the Mvomero Food Hub. He presented the process they went through to the stage of making their manifesto/ guide for running the food hub in Mvomero. He explained the content, the structure of their hub, leadership, meetings calendar, fundraising and the benefits to the members of the Food Hub.

Participants in the meeting were awakened by the presentation from Mr Foya, it made them better understand the importance of them being members of the food hub and that they are all determined to strengthen their hub in Ifakara while following the same process as in Mvomero.

As a way forward, all participants decided to make a task force with a smaller number of people representing different stakeholders in the food value chain to lead the process of developing a food hub guide/manifesto that will guide the operationalization of the Ifakara food hub,13 members were then selected. The task force was assigned to come up with a draft manifesto within one month and share it with the members through the WhatsApp group for inputs. The final version will be presented and discussed during the next meeting in January/ February 2024.

See also: https://foodland-africa.eu/2022/06/21/tanzanian-food-hubs-launched/