Skip to main content

Harvests likely more than 70 percent below average in Rift Valley

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • June 2015
Harvests likely more than 70 percent below average in Rift Valley

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Ongoing Msimu harvests in the Rift Valley in the central regions will likely be 70 to 90 percent below average due to an extended dry spell from mid-February through March. Subsequent rains were inadequate for recovery. Household stocks from the harvest will likely be depleted by the end of July, whereas typically Msimu stocks would last until November. Poor households will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July until October, when land preparation begins.

    • Labor demand and incomes during the Msimu harvest will likely be below-average due to extensive crop loss in areas surrounding the Rift Valley in Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga, and eastern Tabora. Low incomes from agricultural labor and from domestic labor will likely keep poor households Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until October, when land preparation starts and demand for agricultural labor increases.

    • Over 66,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have entered Tanzania from Burundi from April to June, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). While water points, housing, and health facilities are currently being built for the arrivals in the camp and at transit centers, some people are having difficulty accessing services.


    Central Rift Valley in Singida, Dodoma, Shinyanga, and Tabora Regions
    • Low household food stocks following the well below-average Msimu harvest in June/July
    • Low agricultural labor demand and income from cash crops, limiting cash available for market purchases of food
    • Households will likely increase production and sale of charcoal and firewood from July to November, causing a decline in prices for these products.
    • Poor households may rely on market purchases for food as early as July, four months earlier than normal.
    • The fuel tax will increase by an additional TZS 100/liter starting in July on gasoline, diesel, and kerosene
    Refugees and asylum-seekers from Burundi in Kigoma Region and other areas along Lake Tanganyika
    • Over 66,000 people arrived in Tanzania from Burundi between April and June.
    • Health facilities, housing, and water points are overwhelmed by the number of arrivals in the camp and at transit centers.
    • Most arrivals do not have any sources of food or income other than humanitarian assistance at this time.
    • The large number of new residents of Nyarugusu Camp may continue to cause limit access to water, health care facilities, and firewood for food preparation.


    Projected outlook through September 2015

    Seasonal progress: Pasture and water are adequate nationwide due to rainfall in April and May. Msimu rains ended normally in May. Maize harvests and drying are ongoing in most areas, and will likely be below last year, but still slightly above average. The high elevation areas in Mbeya and Iringa will harvest at a typical time in late July/August. Above-average rains are expected for the beginning of the 2015/2016 Msimu season from October to December in unimodal areas.

    Masika season rains have ended seasonally across most bimodal areas during the second week of June. Crops are maturing; most areas will likely harvest from mid-July to August. The Vuli rains from September to November are expected to be above-average due to the ongoing El Niño. However, there may be some farmers who are reluctant to plant maize during Vuli season based on the past years’ below-average rainfall, and they may plant cassava or other crops instead.

    Food prices increased substantially from April to May, but in June, prices have started to stabilize. Food prices will likely increase nationwide, leading to larger price increases in maize-deficit areas as higher transaction costs are likely due to an additional fuel tax on both gasoline and diesel starting July 1. This will likely raise food prices in the central areas where food is trucked in from the Southern Highlands. Markets are supplied by food stocks from 2014 seasons as well as new harvests from the Southern Highlands and northwestern transition areas.

    Some bimodal areas, including Mwanga, Moshi, and Arusha, will move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) by July due to green harvests and agricultural labor demand for Masika harvesting and Vuli planting that will continue through September. However, some northern lowland areas of Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Morogoro, Arusha, and coastal areas of Tanga will likely remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due below-average Masika crop production and fewer agricultural labor opportunities than normal. 

    The Rift Valley in Dodoma, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Singida Regions

    At least 25 percent of poor households in the Rift Valley will enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3) by the end of July. A dry spell from February to March caused extensive crop losses for grains. Cash crops such as cotton and simsim (sesame) were also severely water stressed, leading to low production of only between 10 and 30 percent of average. Although rainfall resumed in April, this only was sufficient to support the late-planted crops, some sweet potatoes, and some paddy in the lowlands that had not completely wilted. Harvest totals will likely be below earlier projections. Households are currently harvesting, but these crops will likely only cover consumption for June and July. Typically, poor households rely on stocks from the Msimu harvest until November. Households may move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by October as land preparation commences, providing income from agricultural labor, which would increase food access.

    The unimodal areas surrounding the central Rift Valley in Dodoma, Singida, Manyara, and transition areas in Nzega and Igunga Districts in Tabora Region had significant crop losses but not as high as in the Rift Valley. This year, below-average crop production across the central regions has reduced local labor demand. In many of these areas, a significant number of poor households do not extensively plant crops, and primarily live off of income from agricultural and domestic labor for wealthier households. This income will be less this year. These areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September. 

    Nyarugusu Camp in Kigoma Region

    Between April 1 and June 30, UNHCR reported that 66,000 people arrived from Burundi to Nyarugusu Camp in Kigoma Region. Food and non-food assistance is being provided to the new arrivals, though crowded conditions are stretching the ability of agencies within the camp to provide adequate supplies and services. The new arrivals are unable to purchase additional food or supplies due to a lack of income. Refugees and asylum seekers will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only in the presence of humanitarian assistance. 


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Crop Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) in the northern bimodal maize-growing areas, Masika as of June 20

    Source: U.S. Geological Service/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Crop Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) in the southern unimodal maize-growing areas, Msimu as of May 30

    Source: U.S. Geological Service/FEWS NET

    Figure 1


    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top