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Food prices continue to decline as supplies from the Masika harvest reach markets

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • July 2013
Food prices continue to decline as supplies from the Masika harvest reach markets

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Increasing food supplies within markets and at the household level, along with decreasing food prices has improved food access and dietary diversity across the country. Acute food insecurity outcomes are currently Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for households across the country, including the banana growing areas affected by banana bacterial wilt (BXW) and the central marginal rainfall areas.

    • Harvesting of Masika crops has started in bimodal areas. Average harvests are expected in these areas as a result of the normal to above normal rainfall received this season. 

    • Although food prices across the country continue to decline, they are still above the five-year average. When compared to surplus areas, prices in the deficit areas have remained 49-52 percent higher, signifying poor market integration and high transport costs.




    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 become available between July and August.

    Central Marginal Rainfall area

    • Below normal food production as a result of poor rainfall in the Dodoma Region is resulting in higher food prices during the harvesting period. As a result, food prices will remain higher than normal; especially after households have finished their own food stocks.
    • Prices will likely start to increase earlier than normal following inadequate supplies as well as high transport costs associated with moving supplies from the surplus to the deficit areas.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    National: Food security conditions in both bimodal and unimodal areas have continued to improve following the increasing availability of a variety of staple food within markets and at the household level. Lower priced maize, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, and a variety of fruits and vegetables are abundantly available and accessible to low income households. The harvesting, drying, and marketing of various crops is ongoing in various areas.  In June, food prices across the country continued their decreasing trend since March; however these prices remain well above the five-year average. Maize prices are ranging between 18 and 53 percent above average, and rice prices between 6 and 33 percent above the five-year average. The price difference between the surplus and consumption markets is substantial and can be attributed to transportation costs and the long distances between deficit and surplus producing areas.  However, increasing supplies from the current Masika crops are expected to reduce these price disparities.

    The Government, through its National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), is planning to purchase 235,000MT of maize and 15,000MT of sorghum in order to replenish the large amount of stocks sold during the past consumption period in order to help stabilize prices. Purchases made for the NFRA will allow producers in the remote market areas to sell their crops at higher prices than usual. The maximum capacity of the reserve is currently 250,000. In previous years, purchases by the NFRA were limited because of funding shortages and lack of competiveness with the private sector.

    Cross border trade of various crops has remained active across all border points, including the northern borders of Namanga, Tarakea, and Holili. Although there are increasing supplies from the Masika harvest, prices for beans, maize, and rice in the border markets of Musoma, Moshi, Mwanza and Arusha have remained relatively high in response to the outflow of supplies through informal trade to Kenya. Border market prices will likely continue to be influenced by this outflow of food, continuing to further exert pressure on food prices within these markets.

    Households that have livestock in the pastoral and agro pastoral parts of the bimodal and unimodal areas are currently facing stable food security conditions. Livestock have access to adequate pasture and water, and this is ensuring milk availability for both dietary diversity and cash income for households. Livestock sales are expected to remain stable as long as favorable terms of trade continue through the outlook period.

    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. Likewise, government purchases from surplus areas could substantially reduce tradable stocks, resulting in reduced flow to deficit areas within Tanzania and higher 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 these 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 July and August, following increasing household access to alternative food crops, decreasing food prices, and improved purchasing power from  crop sales, mainly coffee.  

    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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