Reference Date: 04-February-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Harvesting of 2014/15 “vuli” season crops is underway in bi-modal rainfall areas
Maize production is expected at below-average levels due to significant reduction in planted area in response to frequent poor weather in several previous “vuli” seasons
Favourable outlook for the 2015 “msimu” season crops in uni-modal rainfall areas
Still at low levels, maize prices started to increase in major markets in uni-modal rainfall areas as lean season deepens
Favourable food security conditions observed across country, with pockets of food insecurity in some central Rift Valley areas
Below average maize production expected for 2014/15 “vuli” season in bi-modal rainfall areas
In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the second season “vuli” season crops, which contributes to approximately 30 percent of the total annual cereal production, is underway. Maize production is preliminarily estimated at below-average levels due to a reduction in plantings and unfavourable rains in lowlands of Tanga, Kilimanjao and Manyara districts. In particular, maize planted area decreased significantly (up to 50 percent of average in some areas) as farmers, after several years of low “vuli” maize production, preferred to grow crops more tolerant to dry weather conditions, such as tubers and beans. Subsequently, some increase in maize plantings is expected during the “masika” season (February-August), which usually receives better rainfall amounts. Further reduction in planted area occurred also in coastal areas of Tanga district, where unusual and unseasonal rains in September hampered planting operations of all “vuli” crops.
In January, below-average rains affected pasture conditions in northwestern districts of Kagera and Kigoma as well as the western areas of Mwanza and Shinyanga districts (see Vegetation Condition Index map on the right).
Aggregate cereal production in 2014 (including a below-average output of the ongoing 2014/15 “vuli” harvest) is put at 8.4 million tonnes, 3 percent below the previous year’s record production, but 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 810 000 tonnes (mainly wheat and wheat flour plus some 100 000 tonnes of rice). About 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 outlook for 2015 “msimu” crops
In central and southern uni-modal areas, planting of the 2015 long rains “msimu” season crops, to be harvested next May/June, is about to be completed. Rains started on time around mid-November and, after a dry spell in December that affected parts of southern districts of Ruvuma, Lindi and Morogoro, have been favourable so far. According to satellite-based images, crops outlook is generally favourable due to good moisture conditions, especially in key growing areas of Iringa, Mbeya and Tabora provinces. Meteorological forecasts suggest that “msimu” rains are likely to be average to above-average in most western cropping areas until the end of the season in May.
Maize prices started to rise in most markets as lean season deepens in uni-modal rainfall areas
Prices of maize declined by 50–65 percent between April and October/November as 2014 good “msimu” and “masika” harvests increased supplies in markets in both uni-modal and bi-modal rainfall areas. In November, maize was traded in Dar Es Salaam’s main markets at the very low price of about USD 195 per tonne, approximately 60 percent below the levels of 12 months earlier. Recently, in December/January, maize prices started to increase in most uni-modal rainfall areas and are expected to rise until the peak of the lean season in April, when consumption of the 2015 “msimu” green crops is expected to begin.
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 has been sustained by exceptionally low maize prices during the last quarter of 2014. However, some areas of food insecurity persist in the 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). Land preparation and planting activities of the 2015 “msimu” season offered some labour opportunities which brought some relief to their food security situation. However, more significant improvements in households’ food security in uni-modal rainfall areas are only expected to take place in March/April 2015, when 2015 “msimu” crops will start to be available for local consumption.