Tanzania + 2 more

GIEWS Country Brief: United Republic of Tanzania 12-February-2016

News and Press Release
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  • Harvesting of 2015/16 “vuli” season crops is underway in bi-modal rainfall areas

  • Maize production expected at below-average levels due to erratic rainfall

  • Delayed planting of 2016 “msimu” crops due to late onset of seasonal rains

  • Maize prices stable but at high levels

Favourable food security conditions observed across the country, with pockets of food insecurity in some central Rift Valley areas

Refugees and asylum seekers from DRC and Burundi were estimated in early February at 197 000 Below-average maize production expected for 2015/16 “vuli” season in bi-modal rainfall areas In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the “vuli” secondary season crops, which contribute to approximately 30 percent of the total annual cereal production, is underway. October to December “vuli” rains have been erratic. In costal lowlands of Tanga, Kilimanjao and Manyara, seasonal rains started with a three-week delay; subsequently, rainfall amounts were average but unevenly distributed in time. In northern areas around Lake Victoria, rainfall has been erratic and well below average in Kagera district. As a result, a reduced maize production is expected.

In January, below-average rains affected pasture conditions in northern and western districts of Kagera, Kigoma, Tabora and Katavi (see Vegetation Condition Index map on the right).

Aggregate cereal production in 2015 (including a below-average output of the ongoing 2014/15 “vuli” harvest) is put at 8.4 million tonnes, 21 percent below the previous year’s record production and 4 percent below the average of the previous five years. The cereal import requirement in the 2015/16 marketing year (July/June) is forecast at an average of 810 000 tonnes (mainly wheat and wheat flour plus some 100 000 tonnes of rice).

Delayed planting of 2016 “msimu” crops due to late onset of seasonal rains

In central and southern uni-modal areas, planting of the 2016 long rains “msimu” season crops, to be harvested next May/June, is normally completed in January. However, early season dryness in December delayed planting operations. Precipitation in January was adequate and well-distributed; rainfall amounts and distribution in the coming weeks will be crucial for crop development and performance.

Maize prices stable but at high levels

Maize prices were stable in recent months in Dar es Salaam, the largest urban centre, mostly due to sales by the National Food Reserve Agency. In Arusha, located in a bi-modal rainfall area in the north, they declined by about 15 percent following the harvest of “vuli” season crops. Maize prices in January in Dar es Salam and Iringa were more than 80 percent higher than 12 months earlier, on account of a reduced 2015 cereal production, coupled with sustained export demand from neighbouring countries.

Pockets of food insecurity in areas that harvested below-average “msimu” crops in May/June

Overall, the country’s food security situation is favourable in both bi‑modal and uni‑modal rainfall areas. However, some areas of food insecurity persist in the uni‑modal central Rift Valley regions of Dodoma and Singida which gathered reduced 2015 “msimu” crops last May/June. Here, food stocks were depleted by August, some three months earlier than usual, with local households forced to rely on market purchases during a longer-than-usual lean season. In addition, the delayed start of the rains slowed and delayed planting operations, reducing the availability of labour opportunities. Poor households in these areas are currently at stressed food insecurity level (IPC Phase 2). Improvements in households’ food security in uni-modal rainfall areas are only expected to take place in May 2016, when 2016 “msimu” crops will start to be available for local consumption, about one month later than usual.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers in Kigoma Region has continued to increase as a result of ongoing violence and political instability in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As of early February, the number of refugees in both Nduta and Nyarugusu camps reached 197 000 individuals. The newly displaced refugees and asylum seekers, with limited income sources, are at stressed food insecurity level (IPC Phase 2) even with the presence of humanitarian assistance.