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Moderately above-average maize harvest led to low and stable prices

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • August 2014
Moderately above-average maize harvest led to low and stable prices

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Stable staple prices are expected to continue as harvesting is completed and marketing continues. Estimated production is very similar to 2013, moderately above average, ensuring continued supply to markets.

    • Kenya’s government has arranged a large maize purchase from Tanzania. This maize should help keep prices stable in Kenya while providing funds for restocking in Tanzania.

    • Food insecurity will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most areas. However, some households in Dodoma and Singida are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) having exhausted stocks from the May harvest already and having more limited income than previous years.




    Central Rift Valley in Singida and Dodoma Regions

    • Below-average crop production and associated labor opportunities during the harvest in May
    • Charcoal burning and firewood collection are being limited by environmental laws.
    • Low income from other sources


    • Limited income sources will continue to constrain market access through at least December.
    • Probable new outbreaks of Newcastle disease could lead to additional chicken losses.


    Projected Outlook Through December 2014

    Following mostly adequate rainfall across the country, the Msimu in unimodal areas and Masika harvest in bimodal areas are being completed. Production is above-average with an estimated cereal surplus of 500,000 to 600,000 metric tons (MT), nationally. While stocks are being drawn down in markets, the new harvests have started to reach acceptable moisture content for milling. Domestically, in much of the country, market demand is low as households consume cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins from their harvests instead of maize or rice until the end of September.

    Food, including dry maize, is being shipped from the Southern Highlands to central and northern parts of the country. Maize prices have continued their seasonal decreases except in southern coastal areas and Kigoma. Decreasing prices in most markets is attributed to increasing supply from harvests. The increases are primarily associated with high demand for trade. In southern coastal areas, traders bought early this year to supply northern coastal areas, especially for supplying Dar es Salaam while maize in central and northern areas of the country was drying. In Kigoma, high demand for maize to export to

    Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to high prices (Figure 1). Between April and June, maize export volume to Kenya increased 250 percent. This trade along with exports to Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC will likely continue at high volumes until the primary harvests in those countries later this year or early 2015. The Government of Tanzania sold 50,000 MT of maize from their reserves to Kenya. This arrangement is likely to help stabilize prices in Kenya while providing funds for restocking the reserve in Tanzania.

    Rice growers in Mwanza and Shinyanga prefer maize as their own staple food. As rice prices are well below their five-year averages, this constrains income for purchasing maize.

    If the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) or the Government of Kenya were to make additional, very large-scale purchases, this would reduce maize supplied to the market, possibly leading to price increases earlier than normal.

    The Central Rift Valley in Dodoma and Singida Regions

    The December to March Msimu rains started late. They were very unevenly distributed both over time and space. There was a long dry spell in February and March, and then the rains ended early. These conditions led to a far below-average harvest in May. By August, households had already consumed the harvest, and they had little or no income from crop sales this year. Usually, their own production would last until November. Even the better off households would switch entirely to market purchases by January in a typical year. This year, households are already running out of their stocks. Income sources typically include crop sales, chicken sales, firewood and charcoal collection, and casual labor. In late 2013, a Newcastle disease outbreak killed many chickens, and flock sizes have not yet returned to normal. Also, households expect additional outbreaks, limiting their investment in purchasing and raising more chickens. Government environmental laws now require licenses for collecting firewood and burning charcoal. Poor households are avoiding these typical, expandable income sources, not wanting to spend money for licenses or take on the risk of being fined. As most casual labor is agricultural labor, opportunities were not as available as usual this season, and during the off-season, opportunities are limited. Poor households have limited income with few opportunities to earn additional income, so they have moved from None (IPC Phase 1) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in August. They’re expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the availability of labor opportunities increases with the start of the Msimu rains in late 2014 or early 2015. Their food security will be substantially enhanced though by the harvest next May. The government normally provides relief food to poor household and subsidized food for sale to targeted areas. However, this may be delayed as an assessment is not yet planned. At this time, FEWS NET has not assumed that any relief food will be distributed in this area. However, if there were to be relief food distribution, subsidized sales, or other interventions, this could improve the food security outcomes.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Wholesale white maize prices, Tanzanian shilling (TZS) per 100 kilogram (kg) bag, July 2012-July 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Wholesale white maize prices, Tanzanian shilling (TZS) per 100 kilogram (kg) bag, July 2012-July 2014

    Source: Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT)

    Figure 2


    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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