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March-May rainfall forecasts indicate average 2012/13 Msimu production prospects

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • March 2013
March-May rainfall forecasts indicate average 2012/13 Msimu production prospects

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Food insecurity outcomes will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the start of green harvests in April in the central marginal areas, bimodal, and unimodal areas that experienced below normal production. As food prices continue to be high it is likely that the lean season in some bimodal areas will extend until the Masika harvests in July

    • Following a recent dry spell in February, seasonal forecasts for March-May indicates an increased chance of normal to below normal rainfall for the country. Normal rainfall during this period would result in average Msimu production prospects, likely increasing food access and availability. Below normal rainfall during this period could further stress maize in already dry areas, likely reducing household production. 

    • Livestock conditions across pastoral and agro-pastoral areas are good, and available milk is providing income and dietary diversity among livestock-dependent households. The situation is anticipated to remain stable through June when pasture and water supplies begin to dry up. 





    • High staple food prices across the country is limiting food access for market-dependent poor households.
    • Prices will likely remain high until April when the Msimu greens are expected to be available in most of the unimodal areas.

    Kagera Banana  and Cassava Growing areas

    • The prevalence and spread of banana bacterial wilt (BXW) and Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown streak Disease (CBD), has continued to reduce the availability of bananas and cassava both as a staple food and cash crop, resulting in increasing demand for non-local food supplies.
    • Food insecurity outcomes will likely remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) following the below normal September to December Vuli rains that has significantly reduced available food at market and household levels as well as cash incomes from crop sales.  

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    National: The lean season has peaked in the unimodal and bimodal areas (Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Mara, and Mwanza) that experienced below normal Vuli rains in the September-December. Inadequate household and market replenishment in the bimodal areas, declining household stocks as a result of the progressing lean season, and a poor previous production season (2011/12) has resulted into high food prices across the country.  Maize prices have maintained an increasing trend, remaining between 72-116 percent above the five-year average. The sale of cereals to neighboring Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya, has resulted in low carryover stock, contributing further to increasing food prices. Nonetheless, markets across the country are well supplied with rice, maize flour, potatoes, beans, bananas and cassava. Since February rice prices have started dropping across the country by as much as 12 percent. This may be attributed to increased food stock sales by farmers that need cash in order to prepare their paddy fields.  Price trends for beans have been mixed, stabilizing and increasing in urban markets and decreasing in surplus area markets. The bimodal-to-unimodal transition areas, central marginal areas, as well as poor rural households across the country will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through March when harvests from unimodal areas becomes available.

    The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) forecast for March-May indicates that the country will likely receive normal to below normal rainfall in most parts with an exception of some areas of Njombe/Iringa, Mbeya, and Ruvuma. The recent dry spell in February caused moisture stress to maize in some of the central marginal areas, and will likely result in reduced harvests in these localized areas. This dryness also helped in the weeding of crops. In bimodal and unimodal areas moisture for crop growth increased in March. Ongoing agricultural activities will likely continue to providing casual labor opportunities to labor dependent households, improving their purchasing power.

    This outlook would change significantly if Msimu rainfall becomes erratic, poorly distributed, and stops before the normal end of rains in April (in central areas) or May (in southern highland areas). These events would result in further declining crop production that may contribute to increasing food prices across the country.

    Bimodal areas: The March-June rains have started across the bimodal areas. These rains normally are used to grow cereals in the lowland areas and perennial crops including bananas, coffee, and fruit in the highland areas. However since the seasonal forecast is indicating  normal to below normal rainfall in most of these areas, these cereal and perennial crops might not provide adequate relief to households that experienced below normal September-December harvests between September and December. However, if rainfall is normal it is likely that the current food gaps from the poor  Vuli production will be offset.

    Banana-growing areas of Kagera Region:  The prevalence of banana bacterial wilt (BXW) coupled with Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBD&CMD) has resulted in a reduction of the staple and cash crops. Households in the affected areas will have to depend on markets longer than expected to source their food supplies. High food prices will limit food access until May when prices are expected to start declining following Msimu harvests. 

    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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