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Country Briefs

  United Republic of Tanzania

Reference Date: 06-May-2016


  1. Production prospects of 2016 “msimu” crops generally favourable

  2. Maize prices stable or declining but at high levels

  3. Favourable food security conditions observed across the country, with pockets of food insecurity in some northeastern regions that experienced three below‑average consecutive harvests

  4. As end April 2016, refugees and asylum seekers from DRC and Burundi were estimated at 205 000

Favourable production prospects for 2016 main “msimu” season crops

In southern and central uni‑modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2016 main “msimu” season (November‑June) coarse grain crops has just started and production prospects are generally favourable. Despite the early season dryness in December that delayed planting operations, the 2016 “msimu” output is expected at average levels due to abundant rains that allowed crops to survive during some dry spells along the rainy season.

In northern bi‑modal rainfall areas, planting of the “masika” season (March‑August) crops has been completed in March/April and production prospects are mixed. Around Lake Victoria, seasonal rains were well‑established by early March, while rains have been generally erratic until the end of April in most northeastern areas. Significant soil moisture deficits persist in Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions, where the rainy season has not yet started. According to official meteorological forecasts, “masika” rains are expected at average to above‑average levels during May, with abundant precipitations in coastal areas, with likely positive effects on yields of crops to be harvested by end‑June.

Maize prices stable or declining but at high levels

In Dar es Salaam, the largest urban centre, prices of maize increased by 20 percent between September and December 2015, when they reached all‑time high record levels essentially due to a sustained export demand from neighbouring countries. After declining by about 10 percent in January, mostly due to sales by the National Food Reserve Agency, prices resumed their increasing trend in February and March and levelled off in April as green crops from the “msimu” harvest have become available for consumption. In Iringa market, prices of maize increased by 55 percent between July 2015 and February 2016, when they reached record levels, subsequently declining by 26 percent between February and April. Maize prices in April in Dar Es Salaam and Iringa were 15 and 13 percent higher than 12 months earlier, respectively.

Pockets of food insecurity persists in some northeastern regions

Overall, the country’s food security situation is favourable. However, some areas of food insecurity persist in northeastern regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Tanga that have experienced three consecutive unfavourable seasons with below‑average crop production. With the start of green harvest in April, food security conditions have improved in central Rift Valley regions of Dodoma and Singida. Here, households were forced to rely on market purchases during a longer‑than‑usual lean season as food stocks from the below‑average “msimu” production which was gathered in May/June 2015 were already depleted in August, some three months earlier than usual.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers residing in Kigoma Region as a result of violence and political instability in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has declined in April compared to the flow at the beginning of the year. As of late April, the number of refugees in both Nduta and Nyarugusu camps reached about 205 000 individuals. Some refugees that were already in the country at the end of last year have been able to plant some crops and, despite some losses due to a dry spell during the second half of March, they are expected to complement humanitarian assistance with their own food production. By contrast, the most newly‑arrived refugees, which were not able to plant any crop, face worse food security conditions and rely entirely on humanitarian assistance.