Reference Date: 08-May-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Harvesting of 2015 “msimu” season crops is about to start in uni-modal rainfall areas
Production prospects of “msimu” crops are generally unfavourable due to late and erratic rains
Late onset of “masika” rains delays planting in most northern bi-modal rainfall areas
Maize prices sharply increased in April in uni-modal rainfall areas as lean season peaked
Food security conditions generally favourable, but pockets of food insecurity observed in some central Rift Valley areas
“Msimu” season crops affected by late and erratic rains in most cropping areas
In uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2015 main “msimu” season coarse grain crops is about to start and production prospects are generally unfavourable. Significant moisture deficits are reported in central regions of Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga and Manyara as well as in southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara, where prolonged dry spells in March/April have caused wilting of maize crops and production is expected at below average levels. However, better yields are expected in western regions of Mbeya and Rukwa where seasonal rains performed well since their timely onset in mid-November.
In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, planting of the “masika” season (March to August) crops has just been completed, with substantial delay due to the late onset of rains. Around Lake Victoria, seasonal rains were well-established only by early April, with a delay of two-three dekads, while generally dry weather conditions continued to persist until mid-April in northeastern regions of Kilimanjaro and Tanga. Until the end of the season in June, “masika” rains are forecast at average to below average levels, with likely negative effects on cereal yields and pasture regeneration. The northern bi-modal rainfall areas have already harvested a below average “vuli” season last January/February.
Sharp increase in maize prices at peak of lean season
At the end of 2014, wholesale prices of maize reached record low levels of about USD 160-200 per tonne following good 2014 “msimu” and “masika” harvests. In most markets in uni-modal rainfall areas, between January and April 2015, prices have increased by 50‑80 percent as the lean season peaks and prospects for the next “msimu” harvest are not favourable. Moreover, the high demand by traders to buy locally-produced maize to be exported in deficit areas of Kenya and South Sudan is also exerting a strong pressure on market prices. However, current maize prices are still slightly below the level of one year earlier and are expected to ease in coming weeks, when the newly-harvested 2015 “msimu” crops will start to be available on the main markets.
Pockets of food insecurity persist in Dodoma and Singida regions
Despite the recent spikes of maize prices that have reduced purchasing power of poorest households, the country’s food security situation is generally favourable in both uni‑modal and bi‑modal rainfall areas. However, some areas of food insecurity persist in the uni‑modal central Rift Valley regions of Dodoma and Singida, where reduced “msimu” season crops were gathered in 2014 and food stocks were depleted by August, some three months earlier than usual. Local households were 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) and some improvements are expected in coming weeks due to better labour opportunities during the “msimu” harvest as well as the start of the consumption of seasonal green crops.