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Favorable Msimu harvest upholds household food security across the country until October

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • August 2016
Favorable Msimu harvest upholds household food security across the country until October

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • While the March to May Masika production season was below normal in the northeastern, bimodal lowlands, above-average Msimu production in unimodal, southern and central highlands has upheld food access across the country.  However, acute food insecurity is likely to decline for poor households in the Northeast beginning in October, the start of the lean season. As a result, acute food insecurity is expected to deteriorate from Minimal (IPC Phase 1) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in this area. 

    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that since April 2015, nearly 150,000 Burundi refugees have arrived in western Tanzania. As of August 20, 2016, the total number of refugees in Tanzania is 219,154. The majority of the refugees are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), in the presence of humanitarian assistance. Ongoing Msimu and Masika harvests, in adjacent areas to the camps, have improved food access for refugees as well.




    Northeastern, bimodal areas of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani and Tanga regions

    ·    The ongoing maize harvest, from the Masika production season, is likely to be only 40 to 60 percent of normal, following below-average rainfall between March and May, compromising food crop production in northeastern marginal areas.

    ·    Agricultural labor incomes derived from harvesting have declined due to the reduction in output.

    ·    The favorable maize and rice Msimu harvest in the unimodal areas has improved food access in northeastern bimodal areas, compensating somewhat, for reduced Masika production. However, the expected reduction in labor incomes during the October to December La Niña-induced Vuli rains will likely compromise purchasing capacities and food access for poor households.

    Refugees in western Tanzania in Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta camps, and the Lumasi Transit Center in Kagera and Kigoma regions

    ·    According to WFP, the delay in delivery of super-cereal and sugar is causing a 40 percent shortfall for July and August.

    ·    Although the super-cereal and sugar shortfall is temporary, for two months, a significant pipeline break toward the end of the year could cause a substantial reduction in ration sizes and composition.



    The July to September Masika harvest is ongoing in the bimodal and central areas, which lie between the uni- and bimodal rainfall regimes. The above-average Msimu and the Masika harvests have enhanced food supply and household access in most parts of the country. The Msimu harvest contributes an estimated 70 percent to the overall national cereal output, while the Masika, just over 15 percent, underlining the importance of the good Msimu harvest. However, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates indicate that Masika production is likely to be 40 to 60 percent of average in the bimodal, northeastern lowlands of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions, following below normal and truncated March to May rains. The expectations are that the Masika harvest in other bimodal areas will generally be average.

    The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) recently estimated that an overall national maize surplus of 820,000 MT is anticipated during the 2016 marketing year, sustaining food supply across the country. The key surplus-producing maize and rice regions include Geita, Lindi, Iringa, Mbeya, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Songea, and Tabora in the southern and central highlands. However, overall cereal supply is moderated by a deficit in sorghum, millet, and wheat production. A 1.65 million MT surplus production of bananas, pulses, and potatoes has also improved the food supply for poor households, likely through September.

    While a substantial exportable cereal surplus exists, there is little evidence that large-scale exports from the southern highlands into the deficit southern and eastern Africa countries are occurring. The Government of Tanzania has discouraged formal exports out of the country, pending a detailed assessment of the overall national food supply and status of strategic reserves. Subsequently, producer purchase prices have remained depressed. Farm-gate maize prices in the southern highlands are about Tanzanian shilling (TSh.) 300-350 per kilogram, while rice prices in the Lake Victoria Basin are Tsh. 900-950 compared to the normal price range of Tsh. 1,300-1,350. Lowered rice prices are also attributed to higher than normal production following a succession of two favorable crops, planted in November 2015 and March 2016.

    Nevertheless, household food access for poor households in northeastern, bimodal lowland areas in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions is likely to be constrained through the October to December lean season. Household food stocks from the Masika season are anticipated to be exhausted early due to the lower yields, while food prices are expected to rise seasonably during the lean season. In the lowlands, agricultural labor opportunities in crop production, harvesting, and marketing are also compromised severely by the overall below-average production through the Masika season, further constraining purchasing power.

    According to UNHCR, as of August 20, there were nearly 150,000 Burundi refugees, who had been displaced since April 2015, residing in Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta camps, and the Lumasi Transit Center in Kagera and Kigoma regions. The influx of refugees continues and about 3,860 refugees arrived in the camps just between August 1 and 20. Likely WFP funding shortfalls could result in significant pipeline breaks and food shortages toward the end of the year. Already WFP’s super-cereal sugar rations have been reduced by 40 percent during July and August due to a delay in delivery of commodities. The refugees are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), supported by ongoing humanitarian assistance. Ongoing cassava and maize harvests in the regions where the three camps are located have improved food access for refugees, moderating acute food insecurity. As a result, there are no longer expectations that refugees, who arrived since planting began in March 2016, are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes.   

    Acute food insecurity for most areas is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) across the country. However, for poor households in parts of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions, acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the lean season, beginning in October, through most of the scenario period.


    Figure 1


    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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