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Msimu harvests expected to be near average, Masika crop prospects are promising

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • May 2013
Msimu harvests expected to be near average, Masika crop prospects are promising

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Food prices across the country continue to decrease as households continue to harvest crops, putting less pressure on markets for food purchases. Since households in bimodal areas, as well as central marginal areas, are just starting to harvest crops in May, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to remain until June when Msimu harvests begin reaching markets,   likely reducing food prices to affordable levels.

    • Rainfall in the unimodal areas has started to recede. Most unimodal areas will likely experience average Msimu harvests this season, with an exception of central areas that had a dry spell in February, followed by an early cessation of rains in March. In these central areas, maize experienced moisture induced stress and this will likely result in reduced harvests.

    • Pastoral and agro pastoral households are experiencing stable food security conditions across the country following improved pasture conditions as a result of good rains and improved water availability. Household access to milk and income from milk sales has improved dietary diversity and provided cash for cereal market purchases. Livestock body conditions are also ensuring favorable terms of trade. 





    • High staple food prices across the country since July 2012 are limiting food access for market-dependent households.
    • Food prices have stated decreasing, however further decreases are necessary to make food more affordable to low income households. Prices will likely remain high until June 2013 when the Msimu harvests starts reaching markets.

    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 Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until June when harvests of alternative potato and yam crops from the March-June Masika harvests become available.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    National: The lean season has ended in the unimodal areas following the availability of green foods from the ongoing Msimu season. Ongoing dry conditions in the lowland areas will facilitate the harvesting, drying, and marketing of maize, beans, rice, bananas, cassava, and sweet potatoes. However, maize and wheat harvesting will likely be delayed in the highland areas of Iringa, Njombe and Mbeya areas following humid and low temperatures. Other crops (i.e. sweet and round potatoes, bananas, beans, peas, and vegetables) usually provide alternative cash source and food to farming households during this period, however compared to last year’s prices current round potato prices have fallen in the round potato growing areas of Iringa, Njombe, and Mbeya. This price drop will likely hurt farmers and possibly reduce their returns on investment.

    Food prices across the country have continued decreasing but are still well above the five-year average. April maize prices were recorded at between 44 to 98 percent above the five-year average.  The southern highland market of Songea showed the highest price drop in April of 39 percent, followed by Mtwara and Kigoma markets which recorded prices that are 22 and 21 percent, respectively, below last month’s prices. These prices decreases are likely a result of new harvests starting to reach markets in these areas. High transportation costs and distances between these markets and the rest of the country might be the reason for the price differences. Some of the highest maize prices were recorded in the central Dodoma market where production this season is anticipated to be below normal, following poor rains and severe February dry spells in some areas. Increasing availability of rice from the irrigated areas, along with good prospects of paddy in fields, and recent the exemption on rice imports will likely further reduce rice prices and possibly trigger exports to neighboring countries. Bean prices have decreased in the unimodal markets following ongoing harvests, but have remained relatively high in the bimodal areas where Masika harvests will be in June. Ongoing agricultural activities in both bimodal and unimodal areas will continue providing labor opportunities to casual labor-dependent households, improving the purchasing power of poor households in rural areas. Further decreasing food prices will improve food access for Stressed (IPC Phase 2) low income and market-dependent households, resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes.

    This outlook would change significantly if the Masika rains, which normally end in June/July in bimodal areas, recede early. This early cessation of the rains could result in a significant reduction in crop production. Additionally,   following  the lifting of the current export ban in 2011, excessive cereal outflows through formal and informal cross border trading are likely, and this may contribute to food prices remaining high during the period when prices are typically low.

    Bimodal areas: Although the season was forecasted to be normal to below normal in most of these areas, normal to above normal rains are currently being experienced across the bimodal areas. The lean season in these areas was extended following below average Vuli harvests. This has resulted into poor households in these areas to remaining Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until Masika harvests arrive in June /July.

    Banana-growing areas of the Kagera region: Banana bacterial wilt (BXW), cassava mosaic virus disease (CMD), and cassava brown streak disease (CMD) have significantly affected the production and availability of bananas and cassava (the main staple). Households in the affected areas are highly dependent on market purchases for these specific food supplies. As a result, income from the sale of banana and cassava has also been reduced. Cash from bean sales are also reduced following poor bean production in these areas between September and December. Households in the affected areas will remain Stressed (IPC phase 2) until June when sizable price decreases will be realized as Msimu harvests continue to reach markets.  

    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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