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Significant improvements in food security, likely to reverse in Northeast during the lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • June 2016
Significant improvements in food security, likely to reverse in Northeast during the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Marked improvements in household food security in broad areas of Tanzania due to above-average food production has resulted in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. However, food security is likely to deteriorate early in northeastern bimodal areas in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga regions as the July Masika harvest is expected to be below average due to 20 to 50 percent lower rainfall between March to May.

    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that about 140,448 post-April 2015 Burundi refugees were residing in Tanzania, as of June 13, 2016. Refugees, who arrived prior to the planting season in November 2015, are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), and the rest in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), in the presence of humanitarian assistance, because of their inability to access food and income on their own.







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

    • March to May Masika rains, which were 20 to 50 percent below average and poorly distributed, resulted in below-average crop production in northeastern marginal areas.
    • Agricultural labor incomes are lowered by the reduction in agricultural production.
    • While the January to February Vuli harvest has upheld household food security, below-average Masika production in July will cause the lean season to start earlier, coupled with reduced labor income, will lower purchasing capacities.

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

    • Humanitarian assistance provided by WFP remains the main source of food for refugees arriving after November 2015, and WFP assistance is programmed through at least October.
    • A 60 percent funding gap for all food and non-food assistance through the end of 2016, coupled with the continuing arrival of refugees from Burundi, will likely uphold heightened food insecurity through the scenario period.



    The March to May El Niño-induced Masika rains were 120 to 200 percent above average in many parts of Tanzania after a tentative start in parts of the northern agropastoral and northeastern cropping lowlands. However, substantial rainfall deficits of more than 50 percent in northeastern cropping areas, including Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga regions, point to expected below-average green and dry crop harvests from June through August. The Masika rains followed closely average to above-average November to May Msimu rains in the predominately southern unimodal production areas and the below-average January to March Vuli seasonal harvest in the northeastern bimodal areas.

    The Ministry of Agriculture has indicated that an overall national maize surplus of 650,000 MT is anticipated during the 2016 marketing year, in addition to a 400,000 MT strategic grain reserve. While Kenya is the most profitable market for the surplus, taking up the bulk of the trade, other eastern and southern Africa countries may also import some of Tanzania’s surplus. The strategic grain reserve is likely to stock up considerably because the Government of Tanzania has set the producer purchase price at Tanzanian shilling (TSh.) 500 per kilogram as compared to the farm-gate price of TSh. 300-350 in the southern surplus-producing highlands of Iringa, Mbeya, Rukwa, Ruvuma, and Songea regions. In addition, Tanzania has an exportable surplus of an estimated one million MT of rice, grown in many parts of the country, but predominately in Geita, Iringa, Lindi, Mbeya, Rukwa, Shinyanga, and Tabora regions. 

    While overall national production prospects are favorable, poor households in northeastern bimodal areas of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga regions are likely to experience an earlier-than-normal lean season, following a below- average Masika production season. Harvest stocks are likely to be exhausted in August, well before the onset of the lean season in October. Although overall national surpluses will likely moderate production shortfalls in the northeast, poor households are dependent on agricultural labor as a primary source of income, which has been significantly constrained since May, compromising household food access.

    The country’s technical working group estimated that El Niño-related floods from the Msimu and Vuli rains affected 25,000 households in Arusha, Dodoma, Kagera, Lindi, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, and Shinyanga regions, in northern, central, and southern Tanzania through February. Households lost crops, agricultural inputs, tools, livestock, pasture lands, and income sources, including agricultural labor. As a result, these 25,000 households are likely to experience reduced food consumption through 2016 and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Staple food prices are on a significant seasonal downward trend across the country, an indication of the sizable overall cumulative surpluses from the Vuli, Msimu, and Masika seasons. May maize prices in Arusha and Iringa are about 11 to 15 percent lower than the previous month, and nine to 16 percent lower than a comparable period last year. However, the decline in bean prices in Dar es Saalam is less pronounced, at about four percent lower than April. The downward trend in staple food prices is likely to continue during the Msimu and Masika harvests through September, barring unusually high large-scale regional exports.

    As of June 13, nearly 140,500 post-April 2015 Burundi refugees were hosted in Kagera and Kigoma regions in the Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta camps, and the Lumasi Transit Center. About 112,000 refugees, who arrived before November 2015, have been able to lease land, cultivate crops, and rear livestock to supplement the shortfall in food rations. They are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity, supported by on-going humanitarian assistance. However, about 28,000 refugees, who arrived after the planting period concluded, have limited productive capacities and little access to food and income and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), in the presence of humanitarian assistance. To date, only approximately 40 percent of the 2016 Regional Refugee Response Plan for Tanzania, which is comprised of many humanitarian agencies’ budgets for food and non-food assistance for the Burundian refugees in Tanzania, including UNHCR and WFP, is funded.

    Across the majority of the country, food security for most poor households has improved to Minimal (IPC Phase 1).  However, food insecurity is likely to worsen during the lean season from October through the end of the scenario period in January 2017. As a result, poor households in broad parts of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga regions are expected to move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.  


    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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