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Below-normal Vuli production is likely to bring an early lean season in affected areas

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • January 2014
Below-normal Vuli production is likely to bring an early lean season in affected areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Due to a late start and poor distribution of Vuli rains from mid-September to January, below-average harvests are expected in localized areas of the northeastern regions and central marginal areas of Dodoma and Iringa. Kagera region is still coping with reduced banana harvests due to disease.
    • Households with below-average (<50% of normal) Vuli food production will likely run out of food stocks in April instead of July. An early dependence on markets combined with limited income generating activities has resulted in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in the areas affected by below-average Vuli production. Households in the rest of the country are expected to remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between now and June 2014.
    • Above-average maize harvests in the southern highlands have stabilized national production levels, despite the northern and central area’s poor harvest. Localized price increases may occur for maize in reduced production areas, but nationwide prices remain stable. Due to a poor bean harvest, prices are higher than normal.




    Kagera Banana  and Cassava Growing areas

    • The presence of banana bacterial wilt (BXW) and cassava diseases (Cassava Mosaic Virus and Cassava Brown streak Diseases) has continued to reduce banana and cassava production to 40-60 percent of normal.
    • Food insecure populations, currently at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels, are increasing and will continue to do so until the Vuli harvest becomes available at the market level. By February the population will return to Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Central Marginal Rainfall area

    • Below-normal food production during the 2012/13 Msimu season resulted in market dependence earlier than normal with limited income sources to purchase food. 


    • Casual labor opportunities will slowly increase for land preparation, planting, fertilizer application, weeding during the December-April Msimu season and thus improve purchasing power.

    Northern and North eastern bimodal areas

    • Below-normal 2013/14 Vuli harvests as a result of a late start, poor distribution and below-average rainfall totals.
    • Relief after the lean season that normally comes with the Vuli harvests in February will be reduced. Households will likely be depending on markets to supplement food supplies; likely leading to price increases.



    Projected Outlook through March 2014

    At the national level, food security conditions have remained stable during the lean season in both bimodal and unimodal areas. All markets are reported to have sufficient supplies of staples; however, food stocks at the household level are reduced resulting into poor households supplementing their food requirements from markets.  Areas where food prices have been high due to poor production during the 2013 Msimu season combined with the current poor Vuli prospects (<50% of normal) will have difficulty accessing food.

    Rains in bimodal areas have ceased, allowing harvesting and drying of matured crops. Crops in some areas did not reach maturity during the growing season following late planting as well as poor rain distribution in parts of Shinyanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Pwania and Morogoro. In the unimodal areas Msimu rains are ongoing; however a late start by 20 days was reported in some parts of Dodoma and Morogoro. Ongoing rains are facilitating land preparation and planting activities, ensuring the availability of opportunities for casual-labor-dependent households.

    Pasture in the unimodal areas has begun regenerating. Early unseasonal rains benefited livestock keepers and especially draft animals.  There is a reduced labor pool in many areas following the repatriation of immigrants last year from Tanzania’s neighbors. This will likely affect labor availability and thus production of crops in areas that normally depend on this labor force.

    Maize prices are far below 2012 prices, although slightly above the five-year average. Prices are mostly stable although a few markets have started their seasonal rise, but are following a very gradual increasing trend.  Rice prices are below the five year average across all major rice producing areas; rice remains a substitute for maize.

    This outlook would change significantly if grain outflows increased significantly.  The resultant higher demand would lead to better prices for traders outside the country due to the conflict, displacement, and regional trade dynamics in the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya and the SADC. Additional exports would result in higher internal market prices, further reducing access to food among poor households.

    Banana-growing areas of Kagera region: Bananas and cassava crops are the major staples 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. Currently, this region is facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions that are expected to end in February. Alternative food crops (yams and potatoes from the Vuli season will become available at household and market levels.

    Central marginal areas of Dodoma and Southern parts of Iringa Regions: Households are facing the lingering effects of a poor 2012/13 Msimu season, resulting in earlier and heavier dependence on markets. The added economic burden of purchasing food instead of providing through their own production has resulted in Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) in the period between January and March.

    Households continue to have poor income from chicken sales due to an earlier outbreak of Newcastle disease. Land preparation, fertilizer application and planting activities will partially provide incomes to households dependent on casual labor.

    Northern, Northern Eastern and Coastal Bimodal areas:  Harvests occurring now through February are significantly reduced due to a late start and poor rainfall distribution in the affected areas. Prices will likely start increasing in February onwards responding to this shortfall. Households in these areas will find it difficult coping with increasing food prices and reduced household food stock and thus likely to move from Minimal to Stressed (IPC phase 2) between February and March. The National Food Reserve Agency normally releases stock to moderate prices in the affected areas in order to provide stability until Masika harvests expected in July.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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