In recent years, Tanzania has experienced rapid national economic growth, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing at around 7% a year from 2005–2010 largely thanks to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors as well as the emerging gold-mining sector, which was the fastest growing industry.
This growth occurred despite the severe drought of 2009, which hit crop production, livestock and power generation and the global high oil and food prices of 2007 and 2008 followed by the global ﬁnancial crises, which negatively affected the volume and prices of exports, the ﬂow of capital and investment, and earnings from tourism.
The country has seen marked improvements in access to education, notably at secondary level, as well as to healthcare, water, energy, telecommunications and infrastructure, particularly roads.
Yet this signiﬁcant economic growth has not been matched by improvements in the living conditions of the country’s poor population. Food security gains are not matching national economic gains. The share of the population living below the food poverty line – which represents the cost of obtaining sufficient food to meet the caloriﬁc needs of the poorest 50% of households – decreased only very marginally, from 19% in 2000-01 to 17% in 2007.
The country’s poor farming households need better livelihood support such as access to credit and training so they can improve their agricultural inputs and techniques, increase yields and alleviate their poverty.