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Food outflows and local purchases for stock spark increase in maize prices

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • September 2013
Food outflows and local purchases for stock spark increase in maize prices

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Markets across the country are well supplied with a variety of foods from the just concluded harvests in both bimodal and unimodal areas. 

    • However, formal and informal cross border trade, and demand from private traders and the government has reversed a decreasing maize price trend. In comparison with the previous month, there has been a 7-59 percent increase in maize prices. 

    • Food security outcomes in most areas is expected to be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between now and December. Stressed food security (IPC Phase 2) is likely in central marginal areas  and those areas in the banana growing areas of Kagera that have been  affected by banana bacterial wilt (BWX).




    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 insecurity will be partially mitigated adequate supplies of various foods remain available in markets and normal demand for casual labor opportunities related to ongoing 2013/14 Vuli seasonal activities. However Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely in Oct/Nov.

    Central Marginal Rainfall area

    • Below normal food production as a result of poor rainfall has resulted in higher food prices during the harvesting period. Food prices have remained higher than normal; thus households will face difficulties accessing food once household stocks are depleted. Income from chicken sales has been reduced by the September outbreak of Newcastle disease.
    • Prices are unlikely to reach the low levels that are normally realized in August. Prices are also likely to start to increase earlier than normal given inadequate supplies and high transport costs associated with moving supplies from the surplus to the deficit areas.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    National: Food security conditions at the national level have remained stable following the just concluded harvesting across the country. Availability of variety of staple food within markets and at the household level will continue sustaining food access for most households. While the harvesting of seasonal crops (maize, beans, rice) in both bimodal and unimodal areas is complete, harvesting and marketing of other crops (sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, bananas, and a variety of fruits) is ongoing.  Bimodal areas around Lake Victoria have started receiving rainfall. This has triggered land preparation and planting of bean, maize, cassava, potatoes and other legumes. Availability of casual labor is providing cash to casual labor dependent households and thus likely to cushion the current and future maize price fluctuation shocks. Pasture and water points are being recharged by the ongoing rains.

    Food prices declined between March and July.  However, maize prices began increasing abnormally in August following the start of government and trader purchases. Through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), the government is planning to purchase 235,000 MT of maize and 15,000 MT of sorghum. These purchases, coupled with trader and household purchases have contributed to price increases of seven to 59 percent above last month’s levels, resulting in prices 34-115 percent above the five-year average. It is likely that prices will continue to rise following their typical seasonal trend over the coming months given  below normal maize production in southeast/coastal Kenya (a major importer of maize from Tanzania), instability in DRC, and reduced maize production in the SADC countries. Border markets of Musoma, Mwanza, Moshi and Arusha have recorded relatively high prices compared to the rest of the country a phenomena that is directly associated with increasing demand of food crops for cross border trade. A second sharp increase, like the one seen in August, is not anticipated.

    Food insecurity in most areas is expected to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between now and December. This outlook would change significantly if prices spike again due to excessive grain outflow 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 staple 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, and cassava brown streak disease (CBD&CMD). As a result, market dependence has increased resulting in high demand of food from outside the livelihood zone. Early Vuli rains being experienced in these areas have facilitated land preparation and planting. This has made available of casual labor opportunities to low income casual labor dependent households in these areas and thus stabilizing cash income to purchase household food and non food items. Increasing demand of beans for planting will also result in price increases in these areas and adjacent areas. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security is expected between October and November when food prices have increased and alternative food crops are less available. Food security is likely to improve in December when green Vuli harvests begin.

    Central Marginal areas of Dodoma Region:  Poor and erratic rains during the 2012/13 production season reduced production of both food and cash crops. As a result, abnormally high food prices have been experienced during the harvesting period. The majority of households normally produce enough food to meet consumption needs but this season most households will be at least partially market dependant. High and increasing prices will severely impair food access. Most households access income from casual labor and chicken sales. However, a September outbreak of Newcastle disease in many parts of the country is likely to reduce income from this source and agricultural labor demand will remain limited until November/December when rains are expected to start. Food insecurity could further deteriorate depending on the severity of the Newcastle outbreak and the size of household food stocks. Stressed food insecurity (IPC phase 2) is likely. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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