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History shows that agricultural research in Zanzibar has been confronted with a number of challenges. Some of these challenges include weak human capital, institutional and financial resources that resulted into low research deliverables. In the effort to consolidate various developmental strengths and implement national agricultural policy, Agricultural Research Master Plan (1991) was developed with the aim of defining the long-term (10 – 15 years) and National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
The objectives of Agricultural Research Master Plan I were to provide the Government particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources, with an accurate analysis of the status of the agricultural research system and proposals for its strengthening and long term development. Based on these recommendations, it was hoped that the Government will make decisions on the best strategy for the development of agricultural research in accordance with the national agricultural development priorities. The master plan included the necessary measures to be taken for its smooth implementation particularly regarding the institutional and managerial changes required. While this Plan served the Zanzibar Agricultural Research Council as a stepping stone, yet did not fully take aboard the required changes identified in MKUZA and other national policy frameworks. It was found that the plan did not lead to the aspired developments in agricultural and livestock research. Its implementation has, however, through this review assisted in identifying some existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of agricultural and livestock research and extension in Zanzibar. Furthermore, the review of the implementation identified agricultural research priority areas with detailed strategies for implementation and resource requirements.