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Vuli rains start late with low rainfall totals to date

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • November 2013
Vuli rains start late with low rainfall totals to date

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • All markets across the country are sufficiently stocked with a variety of staple foods, and acute food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most parts of the country. However, in the banana-growing areas of Kagera, and central marginal areas of Dodoma, Stressed food security (IPC Phase 2) is present due to high food prices and reduced income sources.

    • Food prices have shown a mixed trend. Rice prices have continued decreasing following strict controls of rice imports from Tanzania by the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Maize prices have also slightly decreased as urban consumers shift to comparatively less expensive rice. Bean prices are seasonally increasing.

    • A poor season is likely following the late onset of the Vuli rains by approximately one month and poor spatial and temporal distribution of rains to date. Vuli harvests will likely bring only temporary and minor food security improvements. Stressed food insecurity is likely during January to March in areas that depend on Vuli production.

    Projected Outlook through March 2014

    National: Food security conditions at the national level have remained stable despite the onset of the lean season in both bimodal and unimodal areas. There are sufficient food stocks on markets as well as at the household level, with the exception of parts of Kagera, Dodoma, and Iringa regions (see detail below), where food prices are high due to poor production last season.

    Ongoing rains in the bimodal areas are ensuring availability of casual labor and thus providing cash to casual labor dependent households. However there is a likelihood of a poor season following the late onset of the Vuli rains by approximately one month and poor spatial and temporal distribution of rainsVuli harvests will likely bring only temporary and minor food security improvements.

    In unimodal areas, early and unseasonal rains have encouraged land preparation, which is providing casual labor opportunities. Ongoing rains are providing moisture for pasture rejuvenation and recharging water points that will support livestock migrations between north and southern pastoral zones.

    Price trends are mixed. Rice consumption by urban households has increased due to falling domestic rice prices, which has put downward pressure on maize prices.  Maize prices are about 1 to 9 percent lower than the previous month. However, maize and bean prices have seasonally increased in markets where cross border trade is taking place, and are about 19-38 percent above the five-year average. The release of stocks to obtain cash for land preparation and other farm operations will likely maintain a sufficient supply of maize and beans and stabilize or possibly decrease prices through December.

    Food insecurity in most areas will likely remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between now and March, with the exception of the banana-growing areas of Kagera, central marginal areas of Dodoma and southern parts of Iringa region,  and bimodal areas that depend on Vuli production. This outlook would change significantly if excessive grain outflows took place as a result of higher demand due to conflict, displacement, and lower production in the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, and the SADC countries.

    Banana-growing areas of Kagera region: Bananas and cassava crops are the major staples 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 (CMD), and cassava brown streak disease (CBD). As a result, market dependence has increased, resulting in high demand for food from outside the livelihood zone. Casual labor opportunities during the Vuli season will provide cash income. However, incomes from coffee production have been below-average given poor production last season.  Although greens from the ongoing season will provide relief to households that have been dependent on markets, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security is expected until the end of December, when Vuli harvests begin. 

    Central marginal areas of Dodoma and Southern parts of Iringa Regions: Poor and erratic rains during the 2012/13 production season reduced production of both food and cash crops. As a result, prices have been abnormally high during the harvesting period. Most households normally produce enough food to meet consumption needs, but this season most households have at least partial market dependence.  

    Most households access income from chicken sales and agricultural labor. However, a September outbreak of Newcastle disease in many parts of the country reduced the number of chickens and thus cash income. Though agricultural labor demand will increase following the start of land preparation, high and increasing prices will impact household ability to purchase food on markets. Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) is likely between now and March for affected households in Dodoma and Southern parts of Iringa regions, though these populations represent less than 20 percent of the population in the country.


    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.

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