Tanzania: Famine looms as drought intensifies

from Arusha Times
Published on 22 Aug 2009 View Original
By Arusha Times Correspondent

A prolonged period of extensive drought has sent many parts of Tanzania's northern zone in dire need of food. Livestock is also being depleted as pastures have gone dry.

Food crops which depend mostly on rain fall have failed in two consecutive seasons and the most adversely affected areas are Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions.

The government and non government organizations have embarked in an exercise to provide food handouts to the most hit areas which include zones occupied by nomadic tribes.

In recent weeks some 22,063 tonnes of cereals were distributed to all 17 districts facing food shortages in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions.

The three regions have already been allocated a total of 32,918 tonnes of food by the Strategic Grain Reserve, according to its officer in the northern zone, Mr Apolinary Undiri.

The disaster management unit of the Prime Minister's Office is coordinating the food distribution exercise following inadequate rains during the last farming season.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda announced during his visit to Manyara Region last week that some 60,000 tonnes would be transported to regions experiencing food shortages to avert the looming disaster.

Mr Undiri gave a breakdown of the food distribution indicating that the lion's share would go to severely hit districts, mostly those inhabited by nomadic pastoralists.

These include Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro in Arusha Region; Simanjiro and Mbulu in Manyara Region and Same in Kilimanjaro Region.

Mr Undiri revealed this when briefing the Arusha Regional Commissioner Isidore Shirima on the food distribution during the latter's visit to SGR facilities in Arusha.

The breakdown indicates, According to the Citizen, that the vast Arusha region which has been critically hit by drought this year will get 14,329 tonnes followed by Manyara 5,485 tonnes and Kilimanjaro 5,159 tonnes.

The breakdown in tonnes according to the districts is Mwanga (540), Same (1,467), Rombo (1,305), Hai (1,960), Siha (363) and Moshi, which will get 680 tonnes.

In Manyara, Mbulu District leads with an allocation of 3,066 tonnes of cereals followed by the vast and semi-arid Simanjiro (1,516), Kiteto (322), Babati (311) and Hanang (270 tonnes).

For Arusha, Ngorongoro tops the list with 4,116 tonnes, Longido (3,500), Monduli (2,483), Arusha (2,000), Karatu (1,530) and Arumeru (700 tonnes).