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Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes likely to persist in northeastern Tanzania

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • April 2017
Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes likely to persist in northeastern Tanzania

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2017
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to persist through September among poor households in northeastern Tanzania. Near total crop failure during the October to December Vuli season in these areas and above-average staple food prices are currently lowering food access. Only minimal improvement in food security is expected in July with the arrival of the Masika harvest, as production is expected to be below average. 

    • Staple food prices have remained atypically high in March, the post-harvest period, attributed to poor Vuli production. Prices are likely to remain at current high levels until May/June. In July, with the arrival of the Msimu harvest, prices are expected to decline, but may remain at least slightly above average due to the expectation that the harvest will be below average. 

    • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of April 5, Tanzania hosts approximately 310,000 refugees, 239,833 of whom are from Burundi. An average of 160 refugees arrived daily in March. Funding gaps have led to a 20 percent reduction in food rations in March and further ration reductions are possible. In the absence of planned, funded, and likely humanitarian assistance from May through September, it is expected Burundian refugees would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).  




    Northeastern, bimodal areas in  Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga Regions

    • Masika rainfall in March was 20-40 percent below average, following significant rainfall deficits during the October to December Vuli season.
    • The Masika rainy season is fairly short, ending in May, and crop production will likely be below average, unless April rains compensate for March deficits. Below average production in these areas will likely sustain above-normal food prices.

    Refugee camps in Kagera and Kigoma Regions

    • The influx of refugees from Burundi slowed considerably over the past two months, but funding gaps have led to a 20 percent reduction in food rations in March.
    • Given that less than five percent of required 2017 funding is confirmed, food rations are likely to further decline if new funding does not become available. Food insecurity among refugees is likely to increase in the absence of assistance.

    Farmers in central, northern, and southern Tanzania

    • The armyworm outbreak has destroyed crops, including maize, beans, and sugarcane.
    • Food production is likely to reduce significantly in areas affected by the outbreak.  However, overall national production is unlikely to be impacted, if control measures are successful, because the area currently infested is a relatively small proportion of overall national acreage.

    Projected Outlook through September 2017

    The March to May Masika rains in northern and eastern bimodal areas started in February, one month earlier than usual. Although early rainfall accelerated planting activities, most farmers had not completed sowing crops in time to fully benefit from February rainfall. Rainfall in late March was erratic and 20-40 percent below average. The regions with the largest rainfall deficits include Arusha, Geita, Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga. The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) forecast that rainfall for the remainder of the seasonal is likely to be average to below average, suggesting total seasonal rainfall is likely to be below average. As a result, lower than normal Masika production is likely. 

    In the central and southern grain basket regions of Tanzania, the onset of November to May Msimu rainfall was one to two-month late. Rainfall improved substantially between January and March.  Due to the late onset and erratic nature of the rainy season, production is likely to be lower than normal and delayed, occurring in July/August, instead of June.

    The National Armyworms Forecasting Services Center has indicated that about 20,000 hectares of crops in Lindi, Iringa, Manyara, Morogoro, Pwani, and Rukwa Regions have been destroyed by armyworm. Although 20,000 hectares represents less than one percent of cropped area, crop losses are expected to be significant in affected areas and will negatively impact food security among poor households who lose a large proportion of their crops. While control measures have been instituted, there remains a risk that armyworm will spread to other districts in central, northern, and southern Tanzania.

    Maize prices are over 50 percent above the five-year average in most markets across the country. The price of one kilogram of maize rose from 545 TSh in October 2016 to 1,094 TSh in March 2017 in Arusha. The price of beans has increased only slightly, due to recent short-cycle production. In Dar es Salaam, the price of a kilogram of beans rose from 1,800 TSh in October to 1,858 TSh in March. National cereal supply is near normal: Tanzania has an estimated 1.1 million MT surplus from 2016 and wheat imports are expected to be average, but prices are likely to continue rising through May/June because many traders are withholding stocks from markets in anticipation of higher prices in these months. In July, prices are expected to decline, but remain at least slightly above average due to likely below-average Masika and Msimu harvests. 

    Poor households in northeastern Tanzania experienced three consecutive below-average seasons and currently face above-average food prices, reducing food access. Although the July Masika harvest is likely to improve food security slightly, the harvest is expected to be below-average. Food access is likely to further improve slightly in July, when prices decline following the Msimu harvest. Improvements are expected to be minimal, though, and poor households are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.

    According to UNHCR, as of April 5, there are about 239,800 Burundi refugees, the majority of whom were displaced after April 2015 and are residing in Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta camps in western Tanzania. The influx of refugees reduced to roughly 5,000 people per month in March, down from 13,000 in February, and 42,000 in January. Food and income sources were even more limited than usual in late 2016 due to poor rains that limited planting and agricultural labor opportunities. Furthermore, UNHCR faces significant funding constraints - less than five percent of required funding has been confirmed and funding shortfalls led to a 20 percent reduction in food rations in March. Refugees are currently receiving 80 percent of a full ration and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with humanitarian assistance, but given the likelihood of further ration cuts, refugees are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from May through September in the absence of humanitarian assistance. Refugees who arrive after March 2017 are of greatest concern because they will not be able to cultivate crops for the Masika season and will be more reliant on humanitarian assistance. 


    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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