GIEWS Country Brief: United Republic of Tanzania 19-September-2014

News and Press Release
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  • Above-average 2014 “msimu” and “masika” seasons crops gathered

  • Lower yields are reported in central Singida and Dodoma regions due to the unfavourable “msimu” rainy season

  • Favourable pasture conditions in most grazing areas

  • Maize prices continue to decline in major markets following commercialization of recently harvested crops

  • Favourable food security conditions across the country, with pockets of food insecurity in central areas where production shortfalls occurred during the 2014 “msimu” season

The 2014 “msimu” and “masika” seasons crops estimated at above-average levels

In southern and central uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2014 main season “msimu” crops was completed in July. Rainfall has been generally adequate in main cropping areas and cereal production is expected at above-average levels, similar to 2013. However, below-average yields are reported in central Singida and Dodoma regions, where “msimu” rains started late in December and, after a prolonged dry spell between late February and early March, stopped about one month earlier than usual at the end of April.

In northern and central bi modal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2014 first season “masika” crops is about to be finalized. 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 are expected in some areas Mwanza and Mara regions, where the rainy season was characterized by late onset and erratic distribution. Land preparation of the 2014 “vuli” season crops is underway and planting is expected to start at the end of September with the establishment of the “vuli” rainy season (October-January).

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 8.4 million tonnes, slightly below the previous year’s bumper production level and over 7 percent above the average of the previous five years. The cereal import requirement in the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) is forecast at an average of 750 000 tonnes (mainly wheat and wheat flour plus some 100 000 tonnes of rice). Over 500 000 tonnes of maize are expected to be exported to neighbouring countries, in particular to Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Favourable pasture conditions in most grazing areas of the country

Pasture conditions are generally favourable across the country as shown by the latest available satellite images (first dekad of September). In particular, first “vuli” seasonal rains have improved availability of grazing resources in most areas around Lake Victoria. Modest vegetation stress is reported in southern and central areas of Morogoro district as well as along the Lake Tanganika.

Maize prices continue to decline in major markets

The decline of maize prices started in April 2014 when green crops from the “msimu” harvest became available for consumption and it continued at faster rate in recent months as the bulk of “msimu” crops reached main markets as well as the recently harvested “masika” crops were commercialized in bi-modal regions. In Dar Es Salaam’s wholesale market, maize was traded in August at about USD 245 per tonne, approximately 50 percent below the record level of USD 485 per tonne registered last March. Similarly, in Arusha, prices of maize declined by over 30 percent between March and August. Conversely, prices of rice have been mostly stable and currently are slightly below the level of the year before.

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 and have improved further with the recent commercialization of the 2014 “mismu” and “masika” season crops. However, some areas of food insecurity exist in uni‑modal central regions of Dodoma and Singida which gathered reduced 2014 “msimu” cereal and bean crops last May/June. Here, food stocks were not fully replenished and are already being depleted, some two months earlier than usual, with local households forced to rely on market purchases. Poor households in these areas are currently at stressed food insecurity level (IPC Phase 2). Labour opportunities linked to land preparation of the next “msimu” season in October will bring some relief to their food security situation, but more significant improvements are only expected in May 2015 when the next harvest will be gathered.