19 February 1998


In view of the late onset and poor spatial distribution of rains reported during the 1997 Masika and long rains season, a serious reduction in domestic food supplies was anticipated for the current 1997/98 marketing year (June/May). It was envisaged that food supplies from the 1998 secondary Vuli crop would ease the food situation somewhat. However, since October last year the country received unprecedented rainfall, which resulted in widespread flooding and damage to the agriculture sector and infrastructure, particularly the transport system. In view of these developments and ongoing food supply concerns, the Government requested an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to assess the outcome of the 1998 Vuli crop, review early prospects for the 1998 main Masika and long rains crop and evaluate the overall food supply situation for the remaining part of the current 1997/98 marketing year to the end of May.

The FAO/WFP assessment mission was fielded to the country from the 15 to 31 January 1998 and made its assessment on the basis of extensive field visits to main bimodal and unimodal rainfall areas and on discussions with key Government Ministries and Departments and UN, bilateral, private sector agencies and NGOs involved in the food sector.

In reviewing the overall food supply situation for Tanzania for 1997/98, the mission notes an important limitation in not being able physically to assess the outcome of the 1997 long rains and Masika crops which constitute the main source of annual domestic food supply. The Mission found that much more than normal years the food supply situation in the country is heavily influenced by transport and accessibility. In areas that have not been severely affected by transport disruptions and where markets are functioning relatively efficiently, for example Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Arusha, the food supply situation appears reasonably stable, prices have remained on trend and have not increased abnormally in response to shortages. Indeed, in accessible markets the average domestic wholesale price of maize in the period September to December last year remained markedly below international (CIF) prices, which may have deterred the private sector from importing larger quantities of grain in spite of the official waiver on maize duties. In contrast, in areas that had a poor harvest last year and have additionally become isolated due to transport difficulties, there is serious concern over food shortages. In these areas prices have risen sharply as movement of food, and indeed other essential goods, has become highly problematic. Also at risk are vulnerable sectors of the population who have lost crops and assets and have extremely limited purchasing power to procure food.

In appreciation of this duality, the mission concludes that the immediate priority for any appeals for international assistance should be focused on transport constraints and moving food as soon as possible to areas of need rather than on injecting further quantities of relief food.

In spite of the widespread devastation caused by floods to agriculture, infrastructure and the economy since last year, increased rainfall has, overall, had some beneficial effect on Vuli production. Although serious crop losses were sustained in low-lying clay areas and river valleys, it is estimated increased production in higher areas and predominantly sandy loam soils, which benefited from increased precipitation, will to some extent off-set these losses. Moreover, in the aftermath of several years of drought, farmers in most areas increased planting of security food crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes, which are expected to do well this year.

The mission notes however, that lack of funds to purchase improved seed and fertiliser, the cost of which has increased sharply since the removal of subsidies, has significantly reduced input use and hence potential production, especially of staples like maize in some regions. Moreover, soils are becoming infertile, following years of continuous cropping and urgently need supplies of nitrogen in particular. International assistance in this regard, to ensure enhanced food security in vulnerable areas, should also be considered.

Based on area and yield estimates, and using conventional factors for converting non-cereal crops to cereals, the 1998 Vuli crop is estimated at some 1.58 million tons of food in cereal equivalent. Taking into account estimated food stocks available at the beginning of February, domestic availability in cereal equivalent is estimated at around 1.93 million tons. Against this, utilisation needs, including allowances for seed, feed and waste and closing strategic stocks, are estimated at 2.18 million tons, leaving the country with an import requirement of approximately 250 000 tons of cereals for the remaining four months (Feb-May) of the 1997/98 marketing year. Of this, commercial and food aid imports in the pipeline amount to 59 000 tons (mostly wheat and rice) and 32 000 tons respectively. Should the relationship between domestic and international prices of maize become more attractive, the private sector can be expected to purchase the balance. In this regard, there is higher probability of this happening now than hitherto, as international prices of white maize are expected to fall as fears of a substantially reduced crop in Southern Africa recede.

Given this yearís El Nino, the outcome of the 1998 Masika and long rains crop and immediate food security prospects, will depend on rainfall in the next two critical months. If the season progresses more or less normally, with a dry spell in early February to allow land preparation and planting, output of both crops should be good given enhanced soil moisture levels. As the overall food supply situation remains tenuous, the Government may consider a subsequent food supply appraisal at that time.


The Tanzanian economy is currently under transition from one which was centrally controlled and planned to one which is market driven. Structural reforms began in 1986 with the adoption of an Economic Recovery Programme with support from the IMF.

The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which is the principal determinant of growth. In 1995, some 57 percent of GDP was from agriculture, while other productive sectors like mining and manufacturing collectively contributed less than 10 percent and transport and trade 22 percent combined. The main cash and export crops are coffee and cotton, followed by tea, sisal, tobacco, cashew nuts and cloves. In spite of its importance, government expenditure on agriculture in the last two decades has been declining while the sectorís contribution to GDP has been increasing.

The agriculture sector is also the countryís principal export earner. One important repercussion of the heavy rainfall and floods since late 1997 will be the serious effect these will have on coffee and cotton production, which may result in significant decline in export volumes. The export sector is heavily dependent on these crops, which contributed some 63 percent of traditional commodity exports in 1995/96. In addition, the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC) forecasts an overall increase in supply from Central American countries, which will have a depressing effect on prices and export revenues for Tanzania. Moreover, revenues from tobacco exports may also be affected by lower production and quality due to a serious shortage of fertiliser, whilst the ongoing ban on maize exports may restrict earnings from established markets in neighbouring countries. To a small extent, however, the decline in export revenues may be offset by increased cashew exports due to increased production in southern areas where rainfall has been generally favourable for the crop. There are also strong indications that household incomes from cashew will increase due to enhanced production and sales this year, which will improve food security prospects somewhat.

Overall, despite some improvement in the trade balance late last year, the countryís external deficit is likely to worsen in the coming months due to falling export revenues and increasing pressures on food and other imports. Given the Governmentís balance of payments difficulties, its need to maintain financial discipline in the economy coupled with requirements to service external debts, means that it has very little scope for financing food imports without substantial budgetary support. In appreciation of this and in keeping with the drive towards market liberalisation any additional food imports will have to come through the private sector, which in turn has to have appropriate financial inducements.

The efficient functioning of the economy, markets and the agriculture sector in particular are highly constrained by a grossly inadequate internal transport system. Access to rural areas remains particularly difficult, with only an estimated 10 percent of roads to these areas in reasonable condition. Needless to say that severe transport disruption this year will greatly add to problem of communication and food transportation.

This year, markets have become increasingly dysfunctional in many areas, with prices reflecting supply constraints due to inaccessibility rather than overall scarcity. In other words in some areas food may be available but simply cannot be transported to areas of need. This has had a distinct effect on prices where in areas of surplus they have fallen and correspondingly increased in deficit areas for the contrary reason. Reports suggest that in some cases the distance between the two is less than 10 kilometres.


3.1 Unimodal and Bimodal Rainfall Patterns

The rainfall patterns in Tanzania are highly complex, with at least seven major recognised agroclimatic systems. These have been simplified into three main categories as follows:

3.2 1997/98 Rainfall

For the 1997/98 season, Vuli rains started in Bukoba, Musoma and in some parts of Shinyanga in the second dekad of October, about a month later than usual, while in Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Arusha they began normally, in early October. Rainfall intensity was very high from the onset up to the end of December, with Tanga recording 329 percent of the long term average for this period.

In January, which is normally a dry month in Vuli areas, heavy rainfall continued, with Arusha, for example, receiving 214 per cent of normal monthly precipitation in the first two dekads. The continuation of rains into January hampered land preparation for Masika crops, which are normally planted after the January/February dry period. Rains continued up to the time of the Missionís visit in the second half of January, with Same and Moshi in Kilimanjaro Region recording 510 and 897 percent, respectively of long term average rainfall in the first two dekads of the month.

In unimodal areas the rains started in late October/early November and continued up to late January, with Mbeya receiving 286 percent of normal rainfall up to the end of December. Almost all areas recorded above average rainfall between October and December, with the exception of Songea, which received 92 percent of normal precipitation.

The main effect of the intensive rainfall was heavy flooding in low-lying areas, especially in heavy clay areas of Shinyanga, parts of Mara, Arusha, Kilimangaro, Iringa and along the coast north of Lindi. The cotton crop, which is normally grown on these soils in Shinyanga, Mara and Mwanza, was significantly damaged.

Following the failure of the Vuli rains in 1996-97 and poor distribution of Masika rains in some areas, farmers in bimodal areas of the country and in Dodoma, Singida, Tabora and Mwanza Regions, increased plantings of drought tolerant crops including sweet potato, cassava, millet and sorghum. However, in many areas, farmers were unprepared for the early onset of Vuli rains. The high intensity of rainfall also resulted in rapid grass and weed growth, which continues to hamper ploughing and has resulted in waterlogging in some areas. These factors have led to a decline in planted area in some areas. In unimodal-areas, however, farmers took advantage of precipitation to increase the area planted of sweet potato, cassava, maize and sorghum and production of these crops is expected to be good.

Crops on higher ground on free draining sandy or loam soils had adequate rainfall at all times and are expected to produce good crops of maize, sorghum, cassava, sweet potato, millet and bananas. However, the bean crop was adversely affected by incessant rain and yields are expected to decline.

3.3 1998 Vuli Production

Given the time frame of the assessment mission, there was heavy reliance on secondary data. For an evaluation of this yearís Vuli crop, a number of different data sources were, therefore, used and verified, to the extent possible, by field evaluations.

3.3.1 Planted Areas

Estimates of planted areas were derived from the following sources:


3.3.2 Crop Yields

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives does not undertake crop cutting exercises at harvest in order to estimate crop yields. The estimates of crop yields were based on farm visits, and information and data collected from farmers and regional and district agricultural staff. In addition, long term average yield figures from the Ministry of Agriculture at national and sub national levels were also taken into account.

3.3.3 Crop Production

Production of the 1997/98 Vuli crop is estimated in dry weight, which approximates cereal equivalent. Despite losses in low-lying areas, upland crops are expected to yield well and, as a result, aggregate 1998 Vuli production will be appreciably better than the seriously drought affected crop in 1997. Production of cassava and sweet potatoes are expected to increase markedly, due a significant expansion in planted area as large numbers of farmers have diversified into these crops to enhance household food security, following a series of poor drought affected Vuli crops in recent years. Bean production, however, is expected to decline due to the high rainfall, which has reduced seed set and provided favourable conditions for the spread of fungal diseases. A summary of aggregate 1998 Vuli production in cereal equivalent is given in Table 1, whilst Table 2 provides figures by region.

Table 1: Tanzania - 1998 Vuli Production by Crop in Cereal Equivalent
Crop  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)
Maize  375  1 448  545.7
Sorghum  155.2  1 151  178.6
Paddy  23  1 983  45.6
Millet  1 020  5.1
Wheat  15.9  1 648  26.2
Total Cereals  564.1  1 390  801.2
Cassava  159.4  2 508  399.8
Potatoes  51.4  2 268  116.6
Total Root Crops  210.8  2 450  516.4
Pulses  111.9  684  76.5
Bananas  69  2 674  186.9

3.3.4 Livestock production

The widespread damage of roads has prevented normal trade flows for cattle to markets, mainly in Dar es Salaam. The inability to move stock, from livestock areas to markets has in turn resulted in significant drop in prices in important livestock areas such as Shenyanga and Mara. The price of an ox in January, 1998, was estimated at 20 000-30 000 Tanzanian shillings, compared to a normal price of around 80 -100 000 Tshs. In regions like Mara where transport is difficult, the terms of trade for livestock have dropped significantly, where small ox are now traded for one bag of maize compared to normal terms of four to five bags.


4.1 Masika Crop in Bimodal Areas

Masika crops are normally planted in late February/early March after the Vuli season in bimodal areas. However, this year continuing wet weather in some bimodal areas, especially in parts of Mara, Arusha and Kilimangaro, significantly hampered land preparation for Masika crops. A short dry period in the third dekad of January in some parts of Mara, however, enabled land preparation. In addition, cultivation in low-lying areas, especially on black soils in cotton areas of Mwanza, may not be possible due to waterlogging and unploughable soils.

Overall prospects for the Masika crop depend heavily on the rainfall pattern from late January to April. Should the season be normal, Masika crops should produce good yields, given high soil moisture levels following much higher than average Vuli rains. If heavy rains continue without interruption, however, less land will be cultivated in Masika areas with continued flooding of low lying fertile soils reducing potential yields and output.

4.2 Long Rains Crops in Unimodal Areas

It is too early to speculate on the outcome of the main season, long rains, crops in unimodal areas, as much depends on climatic conditions in the critical months of February to April. However, assuming rainfall is normal from February onwards it is reasonable to assume that the 1998 long season maize and rice harvest will be well above average though that of sorghum and millets may decline somewhat due to local shortages of seed following drought in 1997. Production of cassava, sweet potato and bananas should be well above previous years, due to a significant expansion in planted area and favourable rainfall.

Crops grown on higher ground in Dodoma, Singida, Tabora, and in parts of Shinyanga are expected to yield well if the rains continue into late February. By that time, maize should all be past the critical tasselling stage. Sorghum and millet on free draining land should also yield well, while crops on temporarily waterlogged low-lying ground will have reduced yields. Very good production of cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas is expected on free draining upland soils. Moreover, the area planted and yield of rice will be considerably higher due to abundant water availability, which will more than offset flood losses of rice in lowland areas.

Table 2: Tanzania - 1998 Vuli Crop Production in Cereal Equivalent by Region
Maize  Sorghum  Paddy  Millet  Wheat 
Region  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)
Mara  13.0  1 700  22.1  20.0  1 300  26.0  1.0  1 600  1.6  0.5  1 100  0.6  0.0  0.0
Arusha  50.0  1 600  80.0  10.0  1 200  12.0  2.6  2 300  5.98  3.4  1 000  3.4  14.0  1 700  23.8
Kilimanjaro  30.0  1 500  45.0  1.5  1 300  2.0  3.2  2 500  1.2  1 400  1.7
Tanga  20.0  1 500  30.0  2.1  1 900  3.99  0.7  1 000  0.7
Morogoro  40.0  1 400  56.0  8.0  1 200  9.6  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0
Mbeya  20.0  1 600  32.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  1.0  1 800  1.8  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0
Coast/DSM  11.0  1 100  12.1  -
Kagera  51.0  1 500  76.5  2.7  1 300  3.5  0.1  2 000  0.2  -
Kigoma  40.0  1 800  72.0  3.0  1 500  4.5  3.0  2 000  0.1  1 000  0.1  -
Mwanza  100.0  1 200  120.0  110.0  1 100  121.0  10.0  1 800  18  1.0  1 000  1.0 
Total  375  545.7  155.2  178.6  23.0  45.6  5.0  5.1  15.9  26.2
Cassava  Sweet Potato  Pulses  Banana 
Region  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)  Area ('000 ha)  Yield (kg/ha)  Production (tonnes)
Mara  15.6  2 400  37.4  9.6  2 300  22.1  3.3  700  2.3  0.8  3 000  2.4
Arusha  1.1  2 800  3.1  2.3  3 000  6.9  30.0  600  18.0  3.4  2 700  9.2
Kilimanjaro  6.0  3 100  18.6  2.5  3 000  7.5  12.8  400  5.1  21.0  2 700  56.7
Tanga  26.2  2 500  65.5  4.9  3 000  14.7  0.8  600  0.5  16.0  2 500  40.0
Morogoro  20.0  2 400  48.0  1.0  2 000  2.0  10.0  500  5.0  3.0  2 500  7.5
Mbeya  1.5  2 400  3.6  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  5.0  2 500  12.5
Coast/DSM  28.0  2 600  72.8  1.6  1 500  2.4  0.0  0.0  1.6  2 500  4.0
Kagera  11.0  2 800  30.8  8.0  2 000  16.0  25.0  900  22.5  14.0  3 000  42.0
Kigoma  10.0  2 400  24.0  1.5  2 000  3.0  21.0  900  18.9  3.2  3 000  9.6
Mwanza  40.0  2 400  96.0  20.0  2 100  42.0  9.0  500  4.5  1.0  3 000  3.0
Total  159.4  399.8  51.4  116.6  111.9  76.5  69.0  186.9

Source Ministry of Agriculture at Regional and District levels and mission estimates.

In the main maize growing areas of Mbeya, Iringa, Ruvuma and .Rukwa, yields are expected to be reduced by around 10 per cent, assuming that the rains remain normal. This reduction is mainly due to higher than average leaching of already scarce nitrogen from topsoils. Following years of continuous maize production, during which little or no chemical fertilisers were applied, soils in these high potential areas are becoming exhausted and in the absence of remedial measures and application of fertiliser, yields are expected to decline further.


The overview in this section is provided under two broad categories; regions that are principally bimodal and those that are mainly unimodal. In bimodal area Vuli harvesting should be near completion as should land preparation and planting of Masika (long rains) crops, whilst in unimodal areas preparations and planting should have been completed for long rains crops to be harvested from April.

5.1 Bimodal Regions


Mwanza has seven districts, five of which were adversely affected by heavy rains. Worst hit were the districts of Kwimba, Magu and Misungwe, which have monomodal rainfall, while the other districts are bimodal. Flooding completely destroyed the cotton and maize crops in low-lying areas in the region. Rice was affected less and a large proportion is expected to be replanted successfully. Up to December, areas planted to food crops were estimated at 319 000 hectares, compared to a target of 601 000 hectares. No disaggregated area figures by crop, or seasonal basis, were available and the figures for maize, sorghum and other food crops are estimates derived by the mission. Overall prospects for rice production this year are favourable as a result of an increase in area planted and improved moisture conditions. Much however depends on rainfall in the coming weeks. Root crops on hillsides, are also expected to do well this year due to an expansion in planting and favourable conditions.

Apart from the widespread presence of tick-borne diseases, livestock were reported to be in generally good condition, with prices in Mwanza town around normal for the time of year. In more remote areas, however, livestock prices have dropped sharply due to transport difficulties and distress selling for purchase of grains.

As in other regions, due to poor harvests in previous year, a major effort was made by farmers to increase food crop cultivation in 1998. Food crops have received priority over cash crops, with cotton plantings estimated at only 81 000 hectares, compared to the target of 188 000 ha. Areas of cassava and sweet potato have increased considerably and this will have a very positive effect on food security in the coming months. It is expected that large quantities of sweet potato will become available by April.


The Vuli crop in Mara accounts in normal years for between 30-40 per cent of overall crop production. Following a succession of poor Vuli crops due to drought, farmers planted maize and other food crops in the Mara River Valley where heavy rains this year destroyed crops. However, crop production is mainly undertaken on higher ground, where production generally benefited from rainfall in 1997/98. The Vuli crop in the Tarime Highlands, a major crop producing area was observed to be in excellent condition and production of maize and sorghum is expected to increase significantly compared to last year. Livestock were also observed to be in good condition generally, though preventive measures against diseases such as liver fluke should be implemented.


Kilimanjaro has three agro-ecological zones: a) highlands above 1 200 meters, where the main crop is banana, intercropped with coffee, beans and maize; b) the eastern lowlands, which benefits from rain-bearing winds and c) the western lowlands, which normally have a dry climate and where the maize crop often fails due to drought.

The districts of Rombo, Same and Mwanga depend on Vuli rains, which have failed for the past five years. This year rainfall in Same District between October and January 20th amounted to 470 mm, compared to an average for the period of 163 mm. A similar pattern was seen in other districts. The districts of Moshi Rural and Hai depend mainly on Masika rains and farmers in these districts were caught unawares by the unexpectedly high rainfall in November/December and failed to plant food crops. Bananas are the main staple, providing 70 per cent of total food consumption. The Vuli crop provides some 30 per cent of overall food needs in Kilimanjaro Region. Bean crops are expected to show much reduced yields of 400 kg/ha, about half the level of the previous year.


Arusha has a population of about 1.8 million, most of whom are pastoralists, with livestock rearing as the main economic activity. The 1997/98 season has been especially favourable to livestock, with 786 mm of rain, 328 per cent of normal in Arusha between October and December, 1997.

The rainfall was also favourable for the banana crop, one of the main staple foods in Monduli district.

Following several years during which the Vuli rains failed, many farmers were not prepared for favourable rainfall this year and consequently were not in a position to take advantage of good growing conditions. However, those who did plant may expect good crops of maize. As in Kilimanjaro, bean crops were not favoured by heavy and continuous rains and yields are expected to be below average.


The main crops in Tanga are cassava, maize and pulses, with critrus fruit as the main cash crop. The 1997 Vuli season rains in Lushoto District, Tanga, were 1767 mm between October and December, compared to 84 mm during the same period in the previous year. A similar pattern developed over the region, leaving crops planted in low lying areas waterlogged and stunted. Floods destroyed an estimated 960 ha of paddy in Korogwe District. About 1500 ha of cassava growing on low lying sites in Muheza district were damaged, but the rains provided good conditions for replanting crops on higher ground. Weed growth was also encouraged, further damaging crop yield prospects. On higher ground, crops are expected to yield well, especially cassava and bananas.

Land preparation for the Masika crops was hampered by continuous rainfall in January.

Coast/Dar es Salaam

Farming in this region is mainly confined to backyard gardens, which however, produce significant amounts of maize and cassava for home consumption. Cashew and coconut also provide some income for householders.


Due to time constraints, the Mission could not visit Kigoma. The estimates of crop production in the Vuli season are taken from estimates from previous years. Reports from this region state that the 1997/98 Vuli crop is very good.


The Mission did not visit Kagera due to time constraints, but it had at its disposal up-to-date estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

5.2 Unimodal Regions


Rainfall for the 1997/98 season began in late October, with 534 mm falling up to the end of December. This compares to total rainfall of 282 mm in the whole of the 1996/97 season. The heavy rains have made weeding difficult and also resulted in waterlogging and destruction of crops in low lying areas. The early and unexpected onset of rains also meant that only around a quarter of farmers had completed land preparation in time. Half of all farmers proceeded to plant during the rains and an estimated 20 per cent of farmers are either still planting or have not planted yet. Following the severe drought in 1997, the Ministry of Agriculture organised an extension campaign to encourage farmers to grow drought resistant crops, such as sorghum, millet, cassava and sweet potato, which has been largely successful. Early prospects for the main 1998 long rains crop are favourable, though much will depend on rainfall patterns in the next few weeks.


Rainfall began in mid November and continued until mid January during which a total of 1200 mm was received compared to average rainfall of 650 mm. As a result, scattered areas of flooding were observed though they formed a small portion of total land area. There were large areas of cultivation away from lowland areas and river courses which were principally not affected by floods. Land preparation in upland areas was observed to be progressing well, though high weed infestation may cause problems. The maize, millet and sorghum crops were observed to be in generally favourable condition. In predominantly flat areas like Shelgui, however, it is estimated that 75 percent of crops have been destroyed due to water logging and submergence. Pastures for livestock are good though in some areas, foot rot and other diseases may arise due to wet conditions.


The main crop in Tabora is maize, with smaller quantities of rice, cassava and sweet potatoes grown. The main cash crop is tobacco. Fertiliser provided by tobacco companies, also benefits maize. The majority of crops in Tabora were planted on high ground, away from the valley bottoms, which have been largely flooded and as a result crop damage was observed to be small. Food crop area this season was estimated to be 60 percent of target by the end of November. As planting was still continuing in late January, it is expected that the overall target will be achieved. Due to abundant water availability, rice plantings, which are continuing, are expected to be well up on previous years. Farmers are also planting sweet potatoes and cassava on a wide scale and this will improve food security in this largely sandy soil area. In general the heavy rains this year have leached much of the nitrogenous fertilisers applied to tobacco and maize, while the disruption of transport routes has sharply reduced the amount of fertiliser available by up to 80 per cent of demand. Notwithstanding these constraints, the Mission observed good maize crops, which are expected to yield over 2 tons/ha. The population of livestock in the region is relatively small and will benefit greatly from the availability of excellent pastures.


Shinyanga has had a very wet season, with considerably above normal rainfall in most areas. As a result, crops planted in low lying areas have been completely destroyed. The unexpected onset and intensity of rainfall significantly affected land preparation, which may reduce the overall area cultivated this year. The rainfall, however, has been favourable for rice production, which has increased markedly to between two to three times the area planted last year. Conversely, the area under cotton has declined sharply, due to waterlogging of low-lying vertisols. The reduction in cotton production will inevitably have a negative impact on household incomes later in the year. Heavy rainfall and waterlogging also reduced potential yields of maize in upland areas and destroyed crops in lowland areas. Sorghum and millet continue to be planted on higher ground, with good moisture conditions. As a result of the poor harvest caused by drought in 1997, farmers have planted large areas of sweet potatoes and this crop, grown on high ridges was in very good condition during the Missionís visit. Food security will be much enhanced by this root crop. Cassava is of lesser importance than sweet potato in the Shinyanga area. Favourable pasture conditions have increased the livestock population, though there were signs that wet conditions had increased the incidence of diseases. Due to a breakdown in transport and marketing systems to main markets in Dar es Salaam, livestock prices are at an historic low. Grain prices in the region increased sharply in October as road and rail links with the surplus areas in Arusha and Iringa were cut. However, prices are expected to fall as the first maize crop becomes available in early February. Sweet potatoes will also become available on a wide scale and this will greatly improve food security, compared to the previous year, when this crop was not so widely grown.


Rukwa Region has four districts, Mpanda, Nkansi, Sumbawanga Rural and Sumbawanga Urban. Average rainfall ranges between 800-1200 mm annually, falling between October and April. This year, however, continuous rainfall hampered land preparation and resulted in flooding in the Rukwa Valley, which is an important rice growing area. Waterlogging of soils and leaching of nitrogen also had a negative impact on crop development, which may result in reduced yields. It is estimated that maize planting declined by 10 per cent. Due to flooding in paddy areas, some decline in rice production may also be expected. Although in some areas, bean crops were adversely affected by continuous rains, overall production is expected to remain similar to last year. As a food security measure, farmers are being encouraged to plant cassava, sweet potatoes, cowpeas and pigeon peas as soon as the floods subside.


Iringa has five districts, Iringa, Njombe, Ludewa, Makete and Mufindi. The total area for agricultural and livestock production is estimated at 472 000 ha

The rains began in October in some districts, much earlier than in previous years and in Iringa, total rainfall to December 31st (367 mm) was more than twice the average. Some farmers had not completed land preparation with continuous rainfall further hampering efforts to complete planting operations. However, in marginal rainfall areas rainfall considerably improved production prospects

Pest and disease outbreaks have been at a generally low level. An outbreak of Army Worm in Mufindi and Iringa Districts resulted in the loss of about 400 ha, but the infestation was controlled by the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Livestock were reported to be in good condition reflecting good grazing conditions throughout the region. No abnormal outbreaks of disease were reported.


Mbeya is one of the major maize producing areas in the country. It lies between 800 to 2 400 metres above sea level, with three main ecological zones, lowland, middle and high altitude.

Most districts of Mbeya have a unimodal rainfall, between November and April. Rainfall between October and December 1997 was 716 mm, almost three times the normal level of 250 mm. Rainfall in January was normal, with 120 mm falling in the first 20 days. The heavy rains in November and December flooded large areas of lowland in Kyela, Kamsamba, Usangu Plains and Msangano, which are important rice, cotton, sorghum, maize and millet areas. Some maize was destroyed by flooding while prolonged waterlogging and nutrient leaching will have an adverse effect on yields. Paddy rice seed is normally broadcast prior to the fields filling up with flood water. This year, flooding took place too quickly for broadcasting to be completed and normal crop establishment could not take place. Some paddy crops in Kyela and in the Songwe and Rufiji River Basins were destroyed by the floods. Beans are also an important crop, with an estimated 50 000 ha planted, though heavy rains may reduce yield. The middle and high altitude zones were less affected by flooding. Producer prices for maize this year have been low as a result of marketing problems. As a result farmers incomes and capacity to procure inputs for the next season may be heavily constrained.


Cassava, sorghum, maize and paddy are the main food crops in Lindi. Following the unexpected, high rainfall, cassava grown on high ground is doing very well compared to previous years, with increased areas under cultivation following drought in previous years which severely damaged crops. There were ample supplies of maize and dry cassava in the market.


Cassava is the main crop in Mtwara and as a result of favourable rains this year should produce good yields. Paddy is also produced in small pockets and is also expected to benefit from the rains as will important cash crops, cashew and coconut.


Morogoro lies in the transition zone between bimodal and monomodal rainfall belts. In recent years, Vuli rains have been unreliable and farmers did not anticipate the high rainfall of October-December, 1997. Rainfall in Morogoro, at 435 mm for the period October-December, was 206 percent of normal. At Kilosa, rainfall for the period was 1549 mm in 1997, with 958 mm falling in the last three months of the year, compared to a total of 743 mm in 1996.


Poor transport network severely constrains development of important economic sectors notably agriculture. Although efficiency in the economy and the functioning of liberalised markets (especially food) require free movement of goods and services, the present infrastructure and state of roads and railways, even in normal years, are major impediments. The exceptionally heavy rainfall and resultant floods in various parts of the country since November 1997 have greatly exacerbated problems of communications. As a result, access to urban and periurban markets especially in the Lake region is especially difficult as movement in and out of areas like Kagera, Kigoma, Mwanza, Mara and Shinyanga still remains highly restricted. In addition, in these regions and in others where flood damage has been high, there is particular concern regarding access and movement of food and goods to remote villages as the rural road network has been severely disrupted. As some of these areas are traditionally food deficit or have had crops destroyed by flooding in the last few months there is mounting concern about serious food shortages. In the coming months, logistical limitations in food movement and the pace at which transport difficulties are resolved will be as important determinants of food security as the overall food supply situation in the country. In other words, the pressing question is not so much whether food is available but how to get it to areas in need.

6.1 Food Prices and Access to Food

Normally, cereal (maize) prices would be expected to increase at various times during the year: around April to June/July which constitutes the lean period before the main long rains and Masika harvest and December/January before supplies from Vuli production come on to markets. There is also price variation between regions depending on whether they are deficit or surplus. Accordingly, maize prices in markets like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Mtwara, which rely on imports from other regions, are normally higher than Songea, Sumbawanga and Iringa which produce surpluses. Given extremely long and often difficult transport routes, prices in the more remote deficit areas, also include an element of transport cost and handling.

Although food prices are an important indicator of generalised scarcity, in Tanzania given inefficiencies, low purchasing power and lack of integration in food markets, exacerbated this year by additional transport difficulties, prices alone are insufficient in reflecting overall food shortages. In assessing how much of the food problem is supply-related and how much access-related, an attempt has, therefore, been made to differentiate areas of the country where markets this year were considered accessible and were assumed to be functioning reasonably normally, to ascertain whether prices have risen significantly in response to generalised shortages, and areas where significant disruptions to transport have occurred physically restricting supplies.

6.1.1 Accessible Markets

Examples of accessible/functioning markets include Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Morogoro, Iringa and Mbeya.

In these markets, maize prices would have risen sharply and consistently in the latter part of 1997 had serious shortages developed. Certainly, it would have been reasonable to expect that prices from September onwards would have been similar to or higher than those in the lean period between April and July following the extremely poor Vuli crop in 1997. The increase in prices of maize (markets for and imports of wheat and rice are comparatively small) would in turn have stimulated imports.

However, this did not happen and maize prices in accessible markets have not risen sharply and in relation to seasonal adjustments mentioned above, have more or less remained consistent with trends. Overall, prices have increased in some markets, fallen in others or remained stable, indicating that aggregate supply to these markets has been adequate given the purchasing power of the people. (Table 3 and Fig 1).

Moreover, average domestic maize prices in these markets, in the latter part of 1997, were also below CIF cost, which meant that in spite of the Government waiver on import taxes the private sector had little financial incentive to import. During the months of August, to December, the average domestic wholesale price of maize, at prevailing exchange rates was between US $ 146 and $ 163 per ton compared to ex-port (CIF + port transport and handling costs) costs of between US $ 235 and $ 260 per ton of imported maize.

Table 3: Tanzania - 1997 Wholesale prices in main "accessible" markets by month Tsh/100kg
Markets/month  Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec
Arusha  11 834  10 667  11 167  12 533  12 267  13 267  12 708  11 267  11 982  10 821  8 857  9 262
Dar es Salaam  11 337  13 473  14 478  14 303  14 533  13 856  14 000  14 422  13 800  13 914  14 714  15 808
Iringa  7 938  9 875  11 917  11 200  11 633  10 983  9 533  8 480  10 125  8 955  10 000  10 592
Mbeya  6 300  7 133  8 756  10 000  8 800  8 089  7 487  8 633  8 600  8 691  9 000  9 462
Morogoro  11 540  13 000  14 867  15 930  17 877  12 983  10 400  10 795  9 658  10 375  10 983  11 467
Moshi  11 944  12 000  12 931  14 538  14 258  15 833  13 333  6 666  8 333  8 333  10 000  8 055
Sumbawanga  5 500  5 667  8 327  8 333  8 317  6 150  6 890  6 917  7 355  7 600  8 175  9 000
Songea  7 800  8 133  8 945  9 667  9 600  7 278  7 000  7 000  8 500  9 107  9 000  10 975
Tanga  13 250  13 983  14 347  16 397  16 520  15 795  12 750  8 333  8 175  8 500  8 557  7 814
Average 1997  9 716  10 437  11 748  12 545  12 645  11 581  10 456  9 168  9 614  9 588  9 921  10 271
Undisplayed Graphic

6.1.2 Markets with difficult accessibility

Examples of markets which became increasingly inaccessible in the later part of 1997 due to transport difficulties include Tabora, Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga, Musoma and Mwanza and in these areas serious food shortages developed, especially in rural areas. Although there are limited price data available for the post-damage period, it was observed that the difference in average prices between these and accessible markets was much greater this year than the average for recent years. In the period October to December maize prices in these markets were 77, 83 and 104 percent higher respectively compared to between 14 percent and 16 percent on average during the same period from 1993 to 1995. See Table 4 and Fig 2.

Table 4: Tanzania - 1997 Wholesale prices in main markets with difficult access by month Tsh/kg
Markets  Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec
Bukoba  14 500  13 500  14 750  14 000  14 083  16 250  17 300  21 500  19 100  20 643  21 250  24 000
Musoma  13 160  14 000  15 672  16 900  16 900  17 136  17 637  19 933  17 292  17 571  18 333  20 923
Mwanza  11 233  12 167  14 625  13 217  14 950  14 389  17 067  19 233  17 214  16 800  18 613  19 444
Shinyanga  10 900  11 917  13 436  13 000  12 800  14 145  15 550  17 146  15 182  14 692  15 215  20 423
Tabora  8 817  8 750  12 150  13 790  11 430  11 980  13 563  16 880  16 878  15 043  17 383  20 100
Average  11 722  12 067  14 127  14 181  14 033  14 780  16 223  18 938  17 133  16 950  18 159  20 978
Undisplayed Graphic

6.2 Food supply/demand balance

In reviewing the overall food supply situation in Tanzania for the current 1997/98 marketing year the mission notes an important limitation in not being able to make a physical (field) evaluation of the main Masika and long rains harvest last year. The mission did however have an opportunity to inspect the state of the Vuli crop and make an assessment of the extent of rain and flood damage to crops and infrastructure.

In view of the limitation in ascertaining and evaluating food production figures from last year, the national food supply balance sheet presented in this report is only formulated for the remaining part of the current 1997/98 marketing year from February to May 1998. In addition, as food balance sheets are normally formulated for entire marketing years, June-May in the case of Tanzania, the sheet presented can only be partially indicative.

The balance sheet is based on the following assumptions and estimates:

In accordance with recent FAO data on per caput cereal consumption in Tanzania, including the cereal equivalent of pulses, cassava, banana and potato, the overall consumption requirement per caput in cereal equivalent is estimated at 192 kg/person. [ Consumption norms used by the Food Security Department would give per caput consumption requirements of 205 kgs.]

The national food balance sheet for February to May 1998 is shown in Table 5

Table 5: Tanzania - National Food Balance, February to May 1998 (000 tons)
Total Cereal Equivalent 
Domestic Availability  1 931
Stocks as of 1 February  350
1998 Vuli Production  1 581
Utilization  2 181
Food 1/  1 934
Other seed feed waste  222
Stocks as of 31 May  25
Import requirements (Cereal equivalent)  250
Anticipated commercial imports 2/  218
Food aid (in the pipeline)  32

6.3 Emergency food assistance

Although from a national perspective favourable Vuli production this year and the estimated volume of available stocks and pipeline imports into the country means the overall food situation will be generally stable over the next few months, there are considerable concerns regarding household food security in some areas. These areas have been badly affected by heavy rains and floods and many are located in areas which are virtually inaccessible. A number of households that have lost food crops and stocks and have no access to assets and resources to purchase food will, therefore, need assistance until the next harvest. In addition, although this yearís Vuli production will be an important source of food, availability is mainly centred in five bimodal regions in the north and only small areas elsewhere. Moreover, given the extreme nature of transport difficulties this year, the level of outflow of surplus food from Vuli areas may remain limited and not reach areas of need.

However, as the situation changes, food relief allocations have been revised to stop distribution in areas with good production forecasts and to increase the allocation in areas where household food security has deteriorated further. Accordingly, relief food aid has been increased in Rufiji, Magu, Kwimba to take care of additional beneficiaries. On the other hand, allocations have been reduced in Lindi, Mtwara, Musoma and Bunda where the food supply situation is reported to be improving with the harvest of the Vuli crops. Generally the food aid allocation has thus been revised downwards to a total 46 952 tons of which 11 591 tons have already been delivered.

For the current (1997/98) marketing year no additional emergency food aid is envisaged.

6.3.1 Project Food Aid

Project Food Aid is envisaged in 1998 within the framework of Two Quick Action Projects. A Food For Work project involving a total of 4 508 tons is due to begin in April when emergency food aid is expected to be phased out. The FFW project which will be self-targeting is planned for areas having food shortages due to drought and the recent floods.

The project will provide needed food items in chronic food deficit areas while at the same time contributing to rural infrastructural rehabilitation and the promotion of increased agricultural activities.

The second Quick Action Project currently being formulated at the country office is planned to provide food assistance to primary schools in food deficit areas affected by drought and floods. The project is aimed at providing food aid as nutritional support to primary pupils between the ages of 7 to 13 years and also as an incentive to boost enrolment and school attendance especially for girls as a support to the GOT Universal Basic Education Programme. The Primary School Feeding project which will provide pre-cooked food as a mid-day meal to pupils attending school is expected to involve a total 2 500 tons of food commodities for 1998.

Both projects are seen as a transition from emergency through rehabilitation to development programmes. They will contribute to current food aid needs in vulnerable areas and contribute to sustainable improvement of longer-term food security in Tanzania.

6.3.2 Programme Food Aid

A number of donor countries provide Tanzania with food aid each year, which is sold and the proceeds used as budgetary support especially in agricultural development. Normally, the Japanese Government provides 15 000 tons of rice a year for this purpose.

6.3.3 Transport and logistics

The intensive rainfall since November 1997 has resulted in large scale destruction of both the rail and road networks, mainly in the Central and Northern regions. As a consequence, the traffic of commercial and food aid cargo has been at a standstill since mid-December 1997. The disrupted transport network can be divided into three tiers, namely:

The assessment of damage to the transport system can be classified as follows;

- Damage to the Road Network

The Ministry of Works (MOW) has completed an overall review of road interruptions in the 20 regions of Tanzania based on information received from the Regional Authorities. Most transport problem are considered as being fluid as problems and interruptions are evolving almost daily and priorities changing. The MOW concludes that the total cost of the urgent and essential repairs amounts to TSh 7 billion, equivalent to US$ 11.3 million. These initial works will only ensure "immediate passability", while requirements for "sustainable passability" will need to be determined by a more detailed study and extensive funding. No indicative figures for more permanent repair works are available.

For the intra-regional traffic the main road interruptions are between:

The road Dar es Salaam to Dodoma is opened for traffic but a stretch of 30 Km after Morogoro is badly damaged and requires urgent intervention to prevent further deterioration. Due to the disruption of the railway line, all the traffic moves on this road and no diversions are possible at this stage.

It is rather difficult to determine at this stage when resumption of intra-regional and inter-regional traffic will occur as well as when the main road corridors will allow the regular flow of traffic. However priorities have to be linked with the importance of traffic, e.g.:

Urgent co-ordination of the donorsí response is essential to secure funds in the shortest possible time. However, in the meantime some specific donor assistance has already been discussed by the Ministry of Works for discrete elements of the repair works.

- Damage to the Rail Network (TRC)

TRC has also completed an assessment of the damage at various points along the rail network where the track has been washed away. The extent of the damage is far greater than that to roads, though limited to two areas on the Central line between Dar es Salaam and Tabora and another two areas on the Link line to Tanga. With the disruption of the railway line, 60 percent of TRCís rolling stock is "trapped" on the Dar es Salaam side of the line.

On the Central line, 31 Km of the railway between Kilosa and Kidete require major repair works (bridges are broken and embankments have been washed away) and the water levels are still very high. After Dodoma, 16 Km of the railway line are damaged but TRC has been able to provisional repair it thus ensuring "immediate passability" at reduced speed.

The overall cost estimate for the repairs is TSh 11.1 billion (US$ 18 million) of which TSh 4.6 billion (US$ 7.5 million) is required to complete the temporary works and the remaining TSh 6.5 billion (US$ 10.5 million) for the permanent repairs. The estimated completion time for the temporary works that will ensure "immediate passability" is not less than 4-6 months.

- Inter and Intra Regional Networks: Alternatives and Costs

As mentioned above, the district and rural roads and tracks that serve villages and are used for local trade and to evacuate local surplus production became impassable in several regions. In general there are no alternatives for these roads than the use of different means of locomotion, i.e. tractor, animal traction or even by foot in the most extreme cases.

As regards the interrupted inter-regional roads, the options are usually the utilisation of much longer routes. This is the case for instance of the link between Dar es Salaam/Dodoma and Shinyanga/Mwanza where the alternative is to go via Arusha and Kenya, or between Iringa and Dodoma where the alternative is to go via Morogoro.

In addition to the higher costs due to longer distances, transporters have recently revised road transport rates to take into consideration the deterioration of the roads, constraints and diversions, having increased them by more than 20 percent in some cases.

Overall, therefore, the main observations regarding internal transport routes in Tanzania in the aftermath of the floods are;

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required. 
Abdur Rashid 
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-6-5705-4495
E-mail:[email protected]
Ismat Fahmi
Section Chief, OSA/2, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-6-6513-2839
E-Mail: [email protected]
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