Have you heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, short “SDGs”? The SDGs are a set of goals formulated by an initiative of the same name by the United Nations, established in 2015 as a successor of the “Millennium Development Goals” which had covered the time-span from 2000-2015. These goals name the main tasks the UN identified for achieving a better world for all its inhabitants by the year 2030. They are structured in 17 topics, which are the following: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-Being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Production and Consumption; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; Partnership for the Goals.
These topics are subdivided into concrete 169 targets, amounting to ten targets per goal on average. No organization can focus on every goal, let alone every single target. Most actors therefore have key activities and focus on a few topics to which they then allocate their resources. For example, there are organizations which place a focus on health, maybe even only on certain diseases like malaria or HIV/Aids. Others are dedicated to Life Below Water and aim to clear the oceans from plastic.
As you know, SAT’s expertise is sustainable agriculture. This sounds like as narrow a focus as the examples mentioned above, and in a way, it is. At first glance, strengthening agriculture helps against hunger, the 2nd goal. Furthermore, it is obvious that SAT’s focus on organic agriculture plays into goal 12, Responsible Production and Consumption, and some health benefits (goal 3) associated with organic farming – both through producing without potentially hazardous fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the quality of the products themselves – are well-known too.
However, agriculture has a much wider scope. This can be illustrated with a few facts: 68% of Tanzanians live in rural areas (world-wide, the share is less than 50%). 60% of Tanzanians are primarily employed in agriculture, 52% of them being women. 91% of land-owners are small-scale farmers with less than 20 ha of land, and although 52% of workers in agriculture are women, they only own 20% of the land. Lastly, agriculture contributes 26% of Tanzania’s climate gas emissions (CO2 equivalents).
We could share many more facts, but you get the point: In that short list of facts, we tackled topics like poverty, inequality, gender, and climate change. This observation shows that agriculture is more than just mere food production: It is a core pillar of society and life in Tanzania, just as in many other regions in the world. This means that somebody who tackles issues in this sector, like SAT, automatically takes responsibility for many sectors that are linked with it. Below, you find a list compiled by us that shows to what degree we contribute to tackling these issues. In order to give you an idea of what the percentages mean, take two examples:
- Zero Hunger: 100%. This means that SAT contributes to all targets listed under this goal. Strengthened agriculture will reduce malnourishment, enhance child development, and make farmers less dependent on subsidies.
- Good Health and Well-Being: 15%. This number indicates that our work does have a positive impact on people’s health. Organic agriculture is positively linked with various health benefits both on the producer and consumer side. However, this goal includes a number of targets regarding infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis, which are not within SAT’s expertise.
We hope this article gives you a good impression on the key competences of SAT, but also enables you to understand the wider scope that our work directly affects.
 Source: CIAT; World Bank. 2017. Climate-Smart Agriculture in Tanzania. CSA Country Profiles for Africa Series. International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); World Bank, Washington, D.C. 25 p