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Heightened food insecurity anticipated to continue into 2017

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • October 2016
Heightened food insecurity anticipated to continue into 2017

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Poor households in Kagera Region face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity due to the impacts of the September earthquake. Approximately 7,500 homes and buildings were destroyed, and there have been ripple effects through employment losses and a fall in remittances. Also, a delay in the onset of Vuli rains in the Kagera Lake Region has reduced on-farm labor opportunities, compounding food insecurity.  

    • In the Northeast, bimodal areas, the below-average Masika harvest in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions has atypically reduced food access earlier than normal. As a result, poor households are likely to decline to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) since they will not be able to access their own production until February 2017 with the Vuli harvest. 

    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that since April 2015 nearly 171,000 Burundi refugees have arrived in western Tanzania. The total number of refugees in Tanzania is almost 242,000 as of October 24. The majority of the refugees are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), in the presence of humanitarian assistance. About 25,000 refugees, who arrived since August 2016, are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes through at least January 2017. 




    Northeastern, bimodal areas in  Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga

    ·    Reduced Masika output, about 40 to 60 percent of normal, has depleted household food stocks in marginal areas. Poor households are relying earlier than normal on market purchases with limited incomes.

    ·    Expected below-average October to December Vuli rains are likely to limit labor opportunities, reducing purchasing capacities and food access for poor households from November through February.

    Northwestern bimodal areas of Kagera Region; and parts of Mwanza and Geita regions

    ·    Delayed onset of Vuli rains, coupled with the impacts of the September earthquake, have constrained poor household labor opportunities. At the same time, poor households have incurred expenditures to rehabilitate homes and livelihoods.

    ·    The likely below-average harvest is now expected in early February, lengthening the lean season for poor households in the Northwest. The loss of homes and property from the earthquake will continue to be felt through May 2017, compounding the situation for poor households.

    Refugee camps in Kagera and Kigoma regions

    ·    Recently, refugee influxes have amounted to about an average of 8,000 people per month, who are almost entirely dependent

    on food aid. An anticipated ration reduction was postponed to November.

    ·    Unless more funding for refugees is obtained, a full WFP pipeline break is expected in January 2017; however, refugee inflows are expected to continue at the same rate given the continued conflict in Burundi.


    The Vuli season has had a stuttering start in the northwestern, bimodal areas in Kagera Region. Rains normally begin in early September but were delayed considerably until early October. The onset was also delayed in the western bimodal/unimodal transition areas in Mara and northern parts of Mwanza, Kigoma, and Geita regions. The Greater Horn of Africa consensus climate forecast suggests cumulative below-average October to December rainfall, tending to near-average rainfall after November.

    Food insecurity has heightened for poor households in Kagera, and small parts of Geita and Mwanza regions, due to reduced labor opportunities after the delayed rainfall onset. Also, according to the Government of Tanzania, the September 10 earthquake caused 19 fatalities, 253 injuries, and destroyed up to 7,500 homes and buildings, leading to income losses and constrained labor opportunities due to the extent of the destruction, compounding food insecurity outcomes. As a result, poor households in Kagera Region, in particular, face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, which is likely to persist through February 2017, until the onset of the Vuli harvest. Though limited short cycle crops from December could slow further deterioration in food insecurity. Fortunately, the forecasted average Masika rains from March to May 2017 are likely to provide an increase in agricultural labor opportunities, improving incomes.

    The Government of Tanzania lifted restrictions on food exports in early October, replacing them with stringent export permits and licenses to enable closer monitoring of export volumes. Subsequently, maize prices have remained fairly stable in many areas, while rice prices were 30 to 35 percent lower than at a comparable period in 2015, in areas where Masika and Msimu production was above average, excluding the Northeast bimodal areas. Increased labor income from land preparation and planting in October has also slowed deterioration in food security. As a result, food security for poor households in parts of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions has been upheld, at least until November, when food insecurity is likely to move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the height of the lean season and an expectation for staple food price rises, which will constrain food access. Poor households are likely to remain Stressed into the first quarter of 2017 due to the poor 2016 Masika harvest and the expected below-average Vuli harvest.

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries estimates a cumulative three million MT cereal and non-cereal surplus for the current marketing year. However, maize and sorghum contamination by aflatoxin (Aspergillus flavus) has caused substantial losses in Dodoma and Manyara regions but exact amounts are unclear. The aflatoxin poisoning has caused 19 fatalities and 65 infections from consumption of affected maize cereals, maize flour, sorghum, groundnuts, and millet. In response, the Government of Tanzania has distributed 100 MT to affected households in the two regions, in addition to enhancing post-harvest management practices.

    As of October 24, UNHCR has indicated that there were approximately 242,000 refugees in Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta camps in Kagera and Kigoma regions in Tanzania. Nearly 171,000 of these were refugees from Burundi, who have arrived since April 2015. Over the last three months, the influx of Burundian refugees has continued at a rate of about 8,000 people every 30 days. Likely funding shortfalls could result in significant pipeline breaks and food shortages beginning in November. WFP has projected a funding shortfall of an estimated USD 4.3 million from October through December and USD 20.8 million between January and March 2017. Food rations are set to reduce by 36 percent in November, while a full pipeline break is anticipated in January if no additional funding is obtained by the end of the year. Most refugees are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), supported by on-going humanitarian assistance and are expected to remain so through May 2017. However, newly arrived refugees since August are likely in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Food insecurity could increase substantially for refugees arriving after the Masika harvest is depleted if rations are cut in November or in the event that a pipeline break occurs in January.

    Acute food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) across the country for most poor households outside the Kagera Region and refugee camps and is expected to remain so through May 2017. Poor households in Kagera Region are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) into the first quarter of 2017. Food insecurity is also anticipated to deteriorate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from November through February for poor households in parts of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, and Tanga regions.  


    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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