GIEWS Country Brief: United Republic of Tanzania 13-June-2014

News and Press Release
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  • Favourable general outlook for 2014 “msimu” and “masika” seasons crops

  • Lower yields are expected in some northwestern areas due to erratic rains since mid-April

  • Recent flooding in coastal areas likely to affect grain quality

  • Maize prices declined in major markets following the start of 2014 “mismu” season harvest

  • Favourable food security conditions across the country, with pockets of food insecurity in northeastern and central where production shortfalls occurred during the 2013/14 “vuli” season

Favourable outlook for 2014, despite erratic rains in the northwest and coastal flooding

In southern and central uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2014 main season “msimu” crops is underway. Rainfall has been generally adequate and cereal production is expected at above average levels as in 2013. However, since mid-April, erratic rains affected crops in northwestern regions around Lake Victoria and, in late May, heavy off-season rains caused localized damage to grain quality as well as delayed drying operations and transportation of crops to main markets.

In northern and central bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2014 first season “masika” crops is expected to start in July. Cereal production prospects are currently favourable due to above-average rainfall amounts in April/May. In April, torrential rains in coastal areas caused localized flooding with losses of human lives and damage to infrastructures, but also improving growing conditions for “masika” rice in Coast, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam and Tanga regions. Lower yields and delayed harvests are expected in some areas of Dodoma, Mwanza and Mara regions, where the rainy season was characterized by late onset and erratic distribution.

Aggregate cereal production in 2014 (including an average output of the 2014 “vuli” production, to be harvested at the beginning of 2015) is put at 7.9 million tonnes, similar to the previous year’s good production level and over 3 percent above the average of the previous five years. The cereal import requirement in the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) is forecast at about 1.36 million tonnes (including 1.1 million tonnes of wheat and 245 000 tonnes of rice) compared to imports of 1.2 million tonnes in 2013/14. The high level of import requirements is mainly due to sustained domestic demand as well as imports by neighbouring countries, in particular to Kenya.

Maize prices decline in major markets

In Dar Es Salaam, prices of maize were at record levels in March 2014 and started to decline significantly in April (-19 percent) as green crops from the “msimu” harvest became available for consumption and then decreased at faster rates in May (‑31 percent) as harvested crops entered the markets. Overall, prices of maize almost halved between March and May 2014, when they were 13 percent lower than a year earlier. Similarly, in Arusha, prices of maize, after having peaked in March, declined by 25 percent from March to May, when they were 26 percent lower than 12 months earlier. Prices of rice were mostly stable in recent months at about the same levels of a year earlier.

Pockets of food insecurity in areas that harvested below average “vuli” crops in January/February

Overall, food security conditions have been favourable during the lean season in both bi-modal and uni-modal rainfall areas and have improved further with the start of consumption of the 2014 “mismu” green crops in April. Some areas of food insecurity exist, however, in northeastern and central regions of Dodoma and Iringa which gathered reduced 2013/14 “vuli” cereal and bean crops last January/February. Here food stocks were not fully replenished and were already depleted by May, about two months earlier than usual, with local households forced to rely on market purchases. The harvest of the 2014 “masika” crops in July/August will improve the situation in these areas.