28TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND 30 YEARS ANNIVERSARY OF MVIWATA


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28TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND 30 YEARS ANNIVERSARY OF MVIWATA
By Theresa Boateng


Over 1,500 delegates, representing more than 300,000 members of Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima (National Network of Farmers Groups in Tanzania), commonly known as MVIWATA gathered at Njombe, Tanzania from the 12th to 15th of December, 2023 in celebration of the organizations’ 28th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and 30th-anniversary.
This historic meeting commenced with fraternal greetings from global organizations and an opening remark from the Executive Director of MVIWATA, Stephen Ruvuga and some founding members.
Present in the meeting was Dr Tulia Ackson, Tanzania’s Speaker of Parliament and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Dr Ackson celebrated MVIAWTA’s 30-years commitment to defending Tanzanian peasants, emphasizing their crucial role in the nations construction.
Per statics, 90% of food produced in Tanzania comes from peasant farmers says the Speaker of Parliament.
She passionately defended agro ecology as a key tool against climate change and highlighted the strategic importance of indigenous seeds for Tanzania. She committed the Tanzanian State to actively protecting peasants from land grabs.
Comrade Stephen Ruvuga reminded all present at the meeting that MVIWATA was born out of the struggle to bring dignity to farmers, a project that faced severe challenges amidst shifts towards neoliberalism in the early 1990’s.
Despite the well-received commitments from government officials, delegates were hit with a myriad of doubt borne out of past experiences with government officials during MVIWATA’s annual meetings.
On the second day, members of MVIWATA reflected on their experiences and actions since its establishment in 1993. The Chairperson of MVIWATA, Apolo Chamwela identified that the greatest potential enemy of the organization is disunity. He stressed on the need to build unity among farmers in Tanzania and the world.
The representative from the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil, Iris urged MVIWATA to continue to advance the struggle of peasants economically, politically and socially.
She ended her message by inviting MVIWATA to participate in the MST’s 40th anniversary scheduled on July 2024.
Representatives from the Tanzanian Biotech Products Limited cited that they are a product of the international solidarity between the Cuban and Tanzanian government during the era of Mwalimu

Julius Nyerere. This alliance helped the Tanzanian government establish the state-asset to combat mosquitoes without the use of agro-toxins.
Stephen Ruvuga, Executive Director of MVIWATA reminded delegates of the presidency of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, referencing the Arusha Declaration in 1976 which stood with the majority in class struggle. During that period the state was responsible for supporting peasants to improve their lives by ensuring access to basic needs like healthcare and education for everyone as well as establishing markets and providing agricultural support to peasants.


This socialist and self-reliance project commonly known as Ujamaa was abandoned in the early 1990’s landing the country into neoliberalism.


Delegates acknowledged persistent challenges, including market confiscations by the Tanzanian government and land grabs, emphasizing the need for resilience. Farmers, however, expressed gratitude for the tangible benefits derived from MVIWATA’s interventions, citing increased crop yields and improved livelihoods.


On the third day of the meeting MVIWATA’s Head of Program, Theodora Pius gave a presentation on the monopoly which has creeped into the food industry under the manipulation of some few corporations. Some other presentations included the need to build International balance and Pan Africanism by Jonis Ghedi-Alasow, Pan Africanism Today Coordinator and an elaboration on Baobab from the Convener of the Socialist Movement of Ghana and Coordinator of Baobab project.


During the plenary MVIWATA delegates emphasized the role the organization has in fighting against capitalism and imperialism in all forms both on the national, continental and international fronts.


As the AGM and 30-years anniversary concluded, the call for unity and resilience resonated, underscoring the ongoing urgency to address the issues facing Tanzania’s peasants. MVIWATA remains steadfast in its struggle for a dignified and united future for farmers. In a powerful international act of solidarity, MVIWATA; representing over 300,000 Tanzanian peasants, issued a statement condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine and expressed deep support for the Palestinian people during their most challenging moments. This solidarity statement reverberated MVIWATA’s commitment and support towards all the oppressed people of the world and not just the Tanzanian peasantry.


69 thoughts on “28TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND 30 YEARS ANNIVERSARY OF MVIWATA

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