GIEWS Country Brief: United Republic of Tanzania 21-August-2017


  • Maize production for 2017 tentatively forecast at 5.5 million tonnes, 3 percent below average of previous five years

  • Reduced output mainly reflects poor rains in some central and northern areas

  • Maize prices declined from record highs in April, but still at high levels

  • Food insecurity persists in northern areas as a result of reduced 2017 “masika” harvest

  • As of late July 2017, refugees and asylum seekers (mainly from Burundi) estimated at about 350 000 and facing difficult food security conditions

Cereal production in 2017 forecast slightly below-average, as poor rains impact crops in some central and northern areas

In northern and eastern bi-modal rainfall areas, “masika” crops, planted between February and March, are currently being harvested. In northern parts, crop development was negatively affected by below-average rains, where March-to-May seasonal rainfall were 20-35 percent below average in Arusha, Mwanza and Shinyanga regions.

In central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas, the major “msimu” harvest started in June with a delay of more than one month, as dry weather conditions between December 2016 and February 2017 hampered planting operations and early crop development. Average to above-average rainfall between late February and May reduced soil moisture deficits and lifted production prospects in southern key-growing areas, including Mbeya, Rukwa, Katavi and Iringa regions. By contrast, in central Tabora, Singida and Dodoma regions, where the early season dryness was most severe, the improved rains were not sufficient to offset moisture deficits and the accumulated November-April rainfall remained up to 25 percent below average.

Fall Armyworm infestations, identified in several regions both in uni-modal rainfall areas (Songwe, Katavi, Mbeya, Iringa, Njombe, Ruvuma, Lindi, Mtwara, Morogoro and Rukwa regions) and in bimodal rainfall regions (Arusha, Manyara, Shinyanga and Kilimanjaro), have reportedly adversely affected the yields in localized areas

Aggregate maize production for 2017 (including an early forecast of the “vuli” production, for harvest in 2018), is tentatively set at 5.5 million tonnes, 3 percent below the previous five-year average.

Maize prices decline but still at high levels

Prices of maize more than doubled between August 2016 and April 2017, when they reached new record highs. The elevated levels were underpinned by a reduced 2016 “vuli” harvest, gathered in early 2107 in bi-modal rainfall areas and by concerns over the performance of the 2017 crops. Subsequently, they declined seasonally by 30-45 percent between April and July following the harvest period for the “msimu” and “masika” crops.

A maize export ban introduced by the Government in June further supported price declines. However, maize prices in July remained up to 60 percent above their year-earlier levels.

Pockets of food insecurity persist in northern areas

The country is generally food secure, except in northeastern bimodal rainfall areas where, following two consecutive well belowaverage harvests in 2016 (“masika” and “vuli”), poor households in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani and Tanga regions were estimated to be in IPC Phase 2: “Stressed” in mid-2017. However, the food security situation is improving in these areas as food crops from the 2017 “masika” harvest (currently underway) become available for consumption. Despite this overall improvement, in localized northern areas, where the 2017 cereal output was affected by unfavourable rains, poor households are likely to remain in IPC Phase 2: “Stressed” until the “vuli” harvest in early 2018.

As of late July 2017, more than 350 000 refugees and asylum seekers are residing in Kigoma and Kagera regions as a result of violence and political instability in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most refugees face difficult food security conditions, especially new arrivals that have not been able to plant their own crops and consequently rely entirely on humanitarian assistance.