Historical Background

During 1950’s nutrition activities were initiated by the ministry of Health in response to alarming reports on increase in mortality rate, outbreak of diseases or occurrence of famine or any other development which was attributed fully or partially to malnutrition. Much efforts were concerted on interventions in specific situations such as serious deterioration in the health status at a specific population. Furthermore an attempt at multi-sectoral approach were made leading to development of formation Multi-sectoral Advisory Committee on Nutrition to advise on wide range of nutrition questions. When independence was gained in 1961, nutrition status of the people was tackled as a major national issue.

After independency a strong political support to nutrition work played a vital role in development and extension of activities. In 1963, His Excellency, President Julius K. Nyerere declared the intention of the Government to fight malnutrition; foundation of first Nutrition School in 1966, aiming at building capacity to nurses, agricultural extension officers, social workers and teachers; and the Arusha Declaration in 1967 reiterated the importance of curbing malnutrition to vulnerable groups at all levels. The efforts prompted for many parties both within and outside to act, and the signs of confusion started to be seen.

At that point, various ideas and activities prevailed within the country, with no mandated institution to coordinate all units established. Eventually the idea of creating an independent food and nutrition institute to coordinate all food and nutrition activities emerged and it was accepted by most people involved in nutrition activities in the country. A team, led by SIDA undertook the task to formulate an institution for these; the team completed its work in 1972 and recommended a more field oriented coordinated Centre which would work hand in hand with the staff of extension services on one side and scientist and leaders on the other. This model was approved and became the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) created by an Act of Parliament No. 24 of 1973 and launched in 1974 as a semi - autonomous institution, first under the Ministry of Agriculture then Prime Minister’s Office and later the Ministry of Health.