GIEWS Country Brief: United Republic of Tanzania 13-February-2013


  • In bi-modal areas, the 2012/13 “vuli” season production is estimated at near average levels
  • Favourable outlook of the 2013 “msimu” season crops to be harvested in May/June
  • Maize prices are at record high levels in most markets
  • Overall food security situation expected to improve as the lean season eases

Nearly average 2012/13 “vuli” season crop production expected

In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the short rainfall “vuli” season crops, which contributes to approximately 30 percent of the total annual cereal production, is underway and preliminary estimates point to near average cereal production. October to December rains were abundant in most cropping areas, with the exception of northern coastal lowlands, where precipitation was erratic and below average. In January 2013, outbreaks of armyworm have been reported in some central (Kongwa, Bahi and Ifakara) and northern (Kiteto and Kilindi) districts with minimal damage to crops.

Aggregate cereal production in 2012 is estimated at 7 million tonnes, slightly above the previous five years average. Cereal import requirements for 2012/13 (July/June) are forecast at 853 000 tonnes, including 650 000 tonnes of wheat, 150 000 tonnes of rice and 50 000 tonnes of maize.

Favourable outlook for 2013 “msimu” crops

In central and southern uni-modal areas, planting of the 2013 long rains “msimu” season crops, to be harvested next May/June, has been completed at the beginning of January. Rains started on time between end of October and late November and have been favourable so far. According to satellite-based images, the outlook, especially in key growing areas of Iringa, Mbeya and Tabora provinces, is favourable due to good moisture conditions. Meteorological forecast suggests that “msimu” rains are likely to be average to above average until the end of the season in May.

Prices of maize hit record high levels

Maize prices have significantly increased during the last months following the deepening of the lean season, in both uni-modal and bi-modal rainfall areas, the sustained demand from neighbouring countries (Rwanda, Burundi and DRC) and the poor “vuli” production prospects in some bi-modal coastal areas. Between August 2012 and January 2013 maize prices have increased by 36 percent in Dar es Salaam market. By January 2013, maize prices were up to two times higher than twelve months earlier and at record levels in most monitored markets. This is despite the efforts of the Government to control the price inflation by releasing some 40 000 tonnes of relief maize from the National Food Reserve Agency. Similarly, prices of beans and rice followed suit and, by January 2013, they were up by about 10 percent compared to the same month in 2012.

Food security of poor households expected to improve as the lean season ends

Overall, the country’s food security situation is stable. However, pockets of mild food insecurity conditions still persist in some uni-modal areas of central provinces of Singida, Iringa and Dodoma that had a poor “msimu” harvest last July/August. Here, the lean season is longer, lasting until March, when some improvements are expected with the start of the 2013 “msimu” green harvest. Improvements in access are expected in most bi-modal rainfall areas as cereal prices begin to ease with the commercialisation of the bulk of the “vuli” harvest Regarding the pastoral sector, improvements are expected from March following the favourable forecast for the March to May rains, in particular in uni-modal rainfall areas.