Tanzania villages to offer insight, expertise in films reflecting their lives and livelihoods

Showing a film is usually a straightforward affair. But, in a series of screenings in different Tanzanian villages, the events are the opportunity to further develop the content, reflecting diverse input and creating a unique venue for participation and collaboration.

The films reflect ongoing Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) work on commodities, supply chains and sustainability. The screenings in Kilosa district with sugarcane smallholders, Mufindi and its tea block farms and Mberali with rice suppliers are placed as the sites have directly integrated smallholders – who are also the film’s subjects.

Exploring the daily life and perspectives of these outgrowers – who contract to companies but own their own farms – the participatory screenings are designed democratically to garner input and provide a forum to explore people’s experiences as farmers producing major commodities.

CIFOR’s Emily Gallagher, who is spearheading this initiative, said, “Investments to directly integrate smallholders in value chains have been touted for being more inclusive than large-scale plantation investments, but our research has shown that inclusion and exclusion has been uneven.”

She added, “The shift from subsistence to cash-based production has altered relations and land-use dynamics, and different societal groups are experiencing these changes in different ways. In promoting more sustainable and inclusive investment landscapes, these variegated experiences need to be more effectively communicated, heard and considered.”

It is these experiences that are reflected in the films, with the first set of screenings in Kilombero on 12 September 2017. The work will culminate in a week-long exhibition from 22-28 November at the National Museum and House of Culture in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where the final products will be shown alongside a photo exhibition and storymaps with tea, rice and sugarcane producers. The series will culminate in a day of dialogue on 29 November on smallholder inclusion across different landscapes.