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Food prices continue to decline as Msimu harvests continue

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • June 2013
Food prices continue to decline as Msimu harvests continue

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Food security conditions across the country have continued to improve following increasing food supplies from ongoing harvests in unimodal areas. As a result, prices have continued decreasing and this is improving food access to both market dependant households, as well as those depending on own production. Acute food insecurity outcomes for households in bimodal and central marginal areas have improved and are currently Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • Rainfall in the bimodal areas has started to recede and the normal to above normal rain performance this season is expected to bring average Masika harvests. 

    • Food prices across the country continue to decline, however they are still above the five-year average. Further price decreases are anticipated as harvests continue in unimodal areas and as harvests in the bimodal areas begin in July.




    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.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    National: Markets across the country are well supplied with a variety of food supplies that are providing alternative choices to households of different income levels. At the household level, the increasing availability of a variety of food crops continues to improve food access among most households in both rural and urban areas. Populations that were Stressed (IPC Phase 2) earlier this year are now facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes.  Maize, beans, rice, bananas, cassava, and sweet potatoes are becoming increasingly available in markets. This has decreased market-dependency among many households, while also contributing to decreasing prices in markets. Additional food supplies from the ongoing Msimu harvests and the beginning of the Masika harvests are expected to further contribute to decreasing price trends. Though, across the country May maize prices continued to range between 19 and 76 percent above the five-year average.  The southern highland markets of Songea, Mpanda, and Sumbawanga recorded the lowest maize prices in May, ranging between 31,000-40,000 TZS per 100Kg bag. However this price is still 35 percent above the five-year average. Prices remain high in the maize deficit areas of Dodoma and are 76 percent above average; the highest recorded price in this area was 77,000 TZS per 100Kg bag. High transportation costs and the distance between surplus markets and deficit areas are factors that may be contributing to the price difference amongst markets. Increased supplies from the rest of the country will likely reduce food prices in the coming months.

    Cross border trade has remained active across all border points with the northern borders of Namanga, Tarakea, and Holili recording active trade of various crops. While round potatoes are flowing into the country from Kenya, maize, beans, rice, and sugar are flowing out to Kenya. Food prices in the border markets of Musoma, Moshi and Arusha, are currently being influenced by border trade. As a result, rice prices in Arusha have remained 32 percent above the five-year average and declining prices could stop and may start to increase abnormally.

    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. No abnormal livestock movement is anticipated between June and September.

    This outlook would change significantly if there is excessive cereal grain outflow through cross border trade. Above normal outflows of cereal grain could reduce supplies at local markets, resulting in an earlier than normal increase in prices.

    Bimodal areas: The March-June rainfall season across bimodal areas is approaching its end and crops are ready to be harvested. Harvest prospects are normal/average since rainfall totals and spatial distribution has been adequate for most of the season. The lean season in these areas has ended following the decrease in food prices and the availability of green foods. The lean season normally ends after the Vuli harvests, but was extended following poor rains during the September-December 2012 Vuli season that resulted in to below normal harvests.

    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 into 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. Households in the affected areas will remain Stressed (IPC phase 2) until late June when considerable price decreases will be realized as Msimu harvests continues to reach markets, and as household purchasing power increases due to cash 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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