Reference Date: 04-November-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Planting of 2014/15 “vuli” season crops is underway in bi-modal rainfall areas
Significant reduction in maize planted area is expected in response to frequent poor weather in several previous “vuli” seasons
Land preparation is ongoing in uni-modal rainfall areas for the 2015 “msimu” season crops
Maize prices continue to decline in major markets following commercialization of recently-harvested crops
Favourable food security conditions observed across country, with pockets of food insecurity in some central Rift Valley areas
Planting of 2014/15 “vuli” season crops is underway
In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, planting of the 2014/15 “vuli” season crops for harvest in January/February 2015 is almost complete, while in central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas land is being prepared for planting the 2015 “msimu” crops from November, when seasonal rains are expected to start.
Seasonal rains started on time at the end of August and have been particularly abundant around Lake Victoria. Meteorological forecasts indicate average to above-average rainfall amounts along the “vuli” season, with likely favourable effects on crop yields and pasture conditions. However, the maize planted area is expected to decrease significantly (up to 50 percent of average in some areas) as farmers, after several years of low “vuli” maize production, prefer to grow crops more tolerant to dry weather conditions, such as tubers and beans. Subsequently, most maize plantings are expected during the “masika” season (February-August), which usually receives better rainfall amounts. This year, further reduction in planted area is also reported in coastal areas of Tanga district where unusual and unseasonal rains in September hampered planting operations of all “vuli” crops.
Above-average cereal production in 2014
Aggregate cereal production in 2014 (including a below-average output of the 2014 “vuli” production, to be harvested at the beginning of 2015) is put at 8.3 million tonnes, 4.5 percent below the previous year’s bumper production and about 6 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 810 000 tonnes (mainly wheat and wheat flour plus some 100 000 tonnes of rice). About 400 000 tonnes of maize are expected to be exported to neighbouring countries, in particular to Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Maize prices continue to decline in major markets
Prices of maize declined by 35–65 percent between April and October as “msimu” and “masika” harvests increased supplies in markets in both uni-modal and bi-modal rainfall areas. In October, in Dar Es Salaam’s wholesale market, maize was traded at about USD 195 per tonne, approximately 60 percent below the levels of 12 months earlier. Similarly, in Arusha, prices of maize in October were about 30 percent lower than in the same month of the previous year. The current low levels of maize prices, despite a sustained export demand from neighbouring countries, reflect the adequate availabilities from an above average 2014 cereal production.
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 persist in uni‑modal central Rift Valley regions of Dodoma and Singida which gathered reduced 2014 “msimu” crops last May/June. Here, food stocks were depleted by August, some three months earlier than usual, with local households forced to rely on market purchases during a longer-than-usual lean season. Poor households in these areas are currently at stressed food insecurity level (IPC Phase 2). The ongoing land preparation of the 2015 “msimu” season is offering some labour opportunities which are bringing some relief to their food security situation. However, more significant improvements in uni-modal rainfall areas are only expected to take place in May 2015, when the next harvest will be gathered.