Harvesting of the 1999/2000 short "Vuli"
season crops is well advanced in the bi-modal rainfall areas of the northern
coastal belt and north-eastern, where the crop accounts for some 40 percent
of the annual food supplies. Poor rains during the growing season have
prompted farmers to drastically reduce plantings and have affected yields.
Recent official reports suggest that the current Vuli crop is expected
to be about 70 percent below the previous five years average.
The 1999/2000 cereal crop, mainly maize, is estimated at 4 million tonnes, about 8 percent below last year's output due to erratic rains, reduced use of inputs and an outbreak of armyworms. By contrast, production of other food crops, including beans, potatoes, cassava and plantains have increased by nearly 13 percent to 3.3 million tonnes.
Overall, the food supply situation is stable reflecting large maize imports in the latter half of 1999 and the maize export ban imposed by the Government. In the last quarter of 1999, maize prices in several markets of the country were up to 40 percent lower than at the same period a year earlier. However, food assistance is required for nearly 800 000 people identified as food insecure, mainly in the regions of Dodoma, Mara, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga and southern Mwanza, all of which have now suffered their third consecutive poor harvest. WFP school-feeding programme began in January in 128 primary schools in Dodoma region and is expected to expand to Arusha and Singida regions.