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Increased availability of lower priced staple foods expected through December

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • August 2013
Increased availability of lower priced staple foods expected through December

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Food supplies from ongoing harvests continue to reach markets in both bimodal and unimodal areas. As a result of increased supplies across the country, acute food insecurity among households affected by low production in the central marginal areas as well as areas affected by banana bacterial wilt (BWX) is expected to be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through December. 

    • Food and cash crop sales from the Msimu and Masika harvests are providing incomes to better-off households, and  this is contributing to increased casual labor opportunities for poor households. Income from casual labor is being used for food purchases. While main staple prices continued to drop in July, prices remain well above the five-year average. 




    Kagera Banana  and Cassava Growing areas

    • The prevalence and spread of banana bacterial wilt (BXW) and cassava diseases (Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease and Cassava Brown streak Disease) has continued to reduce the availability of bananas and cassava, both as a staple food and cash crop; this has resulted in increasing demand for non-local food supplies.
    • Food security will likely remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as alternative crops (potatoes and yams) from Masika harvests enter into markets, lowering food prices.

    Central Marginal Rainfall area

    • Below normal food production as a result of poor rainfall in Dodoma region is resulting in higher food prices during the harvesting period. Food prices will likely remain higher than normal; especially after households have finished their own food stocks. Incomes for food purchases are slightly reduced this year due to the loss of chickens as a result of last year’s Newcastle outbreak.
    • Prices will likely not reach the low levels that are normally realized in August and will start to increase earlier than normal, due to less food supplies and the high transport costs associated with moving supplies from the surplus to the deficit areas.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    National: Food security conditions at the national level have continued to improve following the increasing availability of a variety of staple food within markets and at the household level. The harvesting of crops in both bimodal and unimodal areas is nearing completion, while the marketing of various crops (including maize, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, and a variety of fruits) is ongoing.  Food prices have been decreasing since March and continued on this declining trend in July. Although current food price levels are significantly lower than their March levels and this is providing relief to many market-dependent households, these prices are still well above the five-year average. Maize prices are 17-47 percent above the five-year average and rice prices have recently declined to 4-16 percent above the five-year average. In addition to maize and rice, poor and middle income households also have access to lower priced beans due to increasing supplies from the ongoing harvests. Lower food prices continue in the surplus producing areas in the Southern highland (Rukwa, Mpanda, Ruvuma Mbeya, and Iringa), however in other remote areas these prices are slightly higher due to increased transport costs.   

    Traders are currently buying food stocks and transporting them from surplus to deficit areas. Traders are also transporting stocks to strategic locations for export. Through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), the Government has started to purchase 235,000 MT of maize and 15,000 MT of sorghum in order to replenish its stocks sold during the 2012/13 consumption period.  All of these purchases could stabilize the currently decreasing price trends.

    This outlook would change significantly if there is excessive grain outflow through cross border trade as a result of higher demand due to conflict, displacement, and lower production in the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Kenya. Above normal outflows of grain could reduce supplies in local markets, resulting in an earlier than normal increase in prices.

    Banana-growing areas of Kagera region: Bananas and cassava crops are the major staple of households of all income levels. Production of food in this area has been significantly reduced following the infestation of banana bacterial wilt (BXW), cassava mosaic virus disease, and cassava brown streak disease (CBD&CMD). As a result, market dependence has increased resulting in high demand of food from outside the livelihood zone. Since areas are maize and rice deficit, supplies are coming from other livelihood zones; a factor that has been keeping food prices high due to high transportation costs. These areas received above normal rainfall this season which has facilitated the growth of sweet potatoes, yams, cassava and beans in the typically low rainfall areas. Food from these harvests is providing relief to households in this region. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected between August and September, following increasing household access to alternative food crops, decreasing food prices, and improved purchasing power from  crop sales, mainly coffee.  

    Central Marginal areas of Dodoma Region: This region typically has a very short growing period and receives rains between December and March. While maintaining livestock is a key livelihoods activity, crop production (maize, Bulrush millets, groundnuts, and irrigated rice) is also widely practiced by poor households. In February 2013 there was a severe and extended dry spell and this reduced maize production, resulting in high food prices during the harvesting period. In addition to this, despite efforts to vaccinate chickens, the area experienced an outbreak of Newcastle disease in September 2012. Although Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected between August and September, outcomes could further deteriorate depending on when food stocks are finished, the severity of the Newcastle outbreak, as well as when food prices will increase.  

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in 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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