In response to the news: Ihucha, A., “94pc have no social security protection, says government” The Citizen, 11 February 2014,

Online news source:–says-government/-/1840414/2200820/-/dh2em1z/-/index.html

This is a response to the above mentioned news as well as for the record of what has been done in trying to extend social security to the 94%.

In Tanzania, around 80% of the population is composed of farmers. The tradition has it that social security schemes cover only the formally employed people, who make only a small (insignificant) percentage of Tanzanian population. Farmers and the self-employed are left out. Thus, the government observation reported in today’s citizen is perfectly right.

This is a big problem and a national disaster (yes, that is the sad truth), because that means 94% of the population does not have any social protection and this means a huge burden to families and also the government in cases of failure to work due to age (elderly), diseases, or disability.  Someone somewhere will carry that burden. And as we know, it’s not only the formally employed folks who get old. Everyone does. Farmers also retire. Everyone is also in risk of getting sick or acquiring a disability that will disable them to work.

These issues have been noted by Hon Zitto Kabwe who thought outside the box and broke a deal with NSSF to extend social security to farmers in Kigoma through a Cooperative Society known as RUMAKU. He wrote two news articles on that – “ Mkulima Hana Pensheni- Kigoma Wamekataa – Raia Mwema August 2013” and also “ Extending Social Security to the Excluded- My personal tour of duty”. The initiative has worked very well in Kigoma. Farmers who joined are already enjoying the benefits including health insurance, maternity cover, and low interests loan for agriculture. More awareness creation is underway in other parts of the region so as to include all farmers.

Learnt from Kigoma experience, BUMACO (Business Management Company), a development and management firm in Moshi, took up the same initiative in Kilimanjaro. Due to BUMACO’s 30 + year track record of working with cooperatives, and through its ongoing RUFIP program, we have started to raise awareness to farmers in rurul areas of Kilimanjaro through SACCOS, AMCOS (Agriculture and Marketing Cooperative Societies), and village public meetings. In Nshara SACCOS 60 farmers enrolled to NSSF in December 2013 and more are still joining. In Lemira 40 farmers (mostly women) are in the registration process. The progress is gradual but with more education to farmers and close follow up.

We call upon the government to work with the social security schemes (NSSF, et al) in formulating a systematic strategy to extend social security to every farmer in Tanzania. It is not a myth. It is possible and, most important a developmental case. Many countries (e.g. China, Korea, etc) have attained universal social security and we can do it also.

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