Skip to main content

Another poor Vuli season anticipated in northeastern lowland areas

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tanzania
  • September 2014
Another poor Vuli season anticipated in northeastern lowland areas

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In northeastern lowland areas, average to below-average September to December Vuli rainfall is forecast. Many farmers are not planting maize this season due to changing weather patterns. On the coast, unseasonable rains in September damaged Masika crops, leaving households unable to plant or do land preparation for Vuli crops.

    • Due to abundant labor opportunities and low food prices, most areas will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through December. In areas with likely below-average Vuli rains, casual labor opportunities may be less available than normal, constraining incomes for food purchases.

    • In the Central Rift Valley in Dodoma and Singida, some households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Households exhausted their stocks from the far below-average Msimu harvest. The limited crop harvest, limited livestock sales, and few casual labor opportunities have strained incomes and reduced food access.

    Central Rift Valley in Singida and Dodoma Regions
    • Below normal household staple reserves due to below-average crop production from Msimu from December to March 2014
    • Charcoal-making and firewood collection are being limited by environmental laws.
    • Low income earned from agricultural labor, crop and chicken sales (due to New Castle disease outbreak)
    • Casual labor from Msimu season agricultural activities will provide income in December.
    • The government will likely provide subsidized maize prices in November.
    Northeastern bimodal lowland areas of Tanga, Kilimanjaro, and Arusha
    • Unseasonal rainfall occurred before the coastal area of Tanga was able to complete their harvest in September. This rainfall and crop loss has also prohibited farmers from preparing for the next season.
    • Poor distribution of rains, and delayed and erratic onset throughout northeastern areas is forecast from September to December.
    • Approximately 40 to 45 percent of households in these areas no longer plant maize for the Vuli season.
    • Casual labor opportunities will be lower than a normal year due to the reduction in households farming and requiring labor.
    • Pastoralists will likely migrate earlier than normal in November.



    Seasonal progress: Around Lake Victoria, Vuli rainfall started seasonally in the second and third week of August, facilitating planting of beans and maize. Rainfall was heavy at the beginning of the season, but has returned to a steady normal pace. The northeastern highlands will likely have average rainfall for the September to December period. Across all bimodal areas, Vuli season contributes 30 percent to national food production.

    Maize prices are low: The continuous supply of maize, beans, and rice from the recently completed and ongoing harvests has brought down prices since June. Farm-gate maize prices dropped as low as TZS 200 per kilogram (kg), reaching their five-year averages. The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) is buying 90,000 MT of maize from both bimodal and unimodal surplus-producing areas at TZS 500 per kg. It is unlikely that the purchases will absorb the total surplus and price increases will not be maintained longer than a few weeks due to the volume of available food stocks. The NFRA purchase will continue until full storage capacity of 290,000 MT or funds run out, likely in early October. Despite increased bean availability from the Msimu and Masika harvests, prices have stabilized above their five-year averages. Recurrent seasons of poor bean production has left households with low carryover stocks. Rice prices have remained well below the five-year averages, allowing access to low income households.

    Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through December: Poor households are currently able to purchase food with the prevailing low market prices and casual labor opportunities. Prices are likely to remain unseasonably low through October.

    The northeastern lowland bimodal areas of Tanga, Kilimanjaro, and Arusha

    Crop losses: Tanga, Kilimanjaro, and Arusha received adequate rains in the March to June Masika season, resulting in crop production greater than in 2013. However, in coastal Tanga before harvests were finished in September, unusual and non-seasonal rainfall fell. There was not a break in the rains for households to finish harvesting and plant Vuli crops. Farmers have lost 10 to 30 percent of their harvests from Masika season. In these areas, Vuli rainfall normally starts in October.

    Vuli rains may be average to below-average: The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum 38 (GHACOF) forecast indicates likely scattered distribution and timing of average to below-average rainfall from September to December. A field estimate of 40 to 45 percent of households in these areas no longer plant maize after several years of crop loss during this season. These households are focusing on sweet potatoes, cassava, and beans which are more tolerant of the weather patterns. The projected average to below-average rainfall in these areas will likely yield lower maize production for those who have planted and lower rangeland availability for livestock than a typical year. Pastoralists will likely migrate earlier than normal to find adequate rangeland. Early migration would likely cause a decline in household food consumption and dietary diversity from the loss of milk.

    Lower demand for seasonal agricultural workers: The reduction in farmers planting maize in Vuli season will make demand for agricultural labor lower than normal for this time of year. Income for casual labor dependent households will likely be lower than normal, constraining household consumption until January when land preparation for Masika starts.

    Households will likely remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through December. Outcomes after that will require further monitoring.

    The Central Rift Valley in Dodoma and Singida Regions

    Households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Household food stocks are depleting earlier than normal this year due to inadequate household production and cash from crop sales as a result of poor November to April 2014 Msimu rain. This year, the harvested food lasted for about three months, while normally it would last for six months until November. These households are now relying completely on market purchases for their food supply. However, income from other livelihood activities such as crop, chicken, firewood, and charcoal sales, and casual labor are lower than a normal year. Recurrent Newcastle disease outbreaks have continued reducing chicken populations. Charcoal and firewood incomes have been reduced through the new high-cost licensing procedure for selling natural resources.

    Households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the labor opportunities for the Msimu season start in late December. Some migration for work on bimodal land preparation is occurring however, the short-term opportunities are limited. The government’s Disaster Management Department is planning to conduct a rapid assessment to determine the number of food insecure population and their requirements but is awaiting the completion of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Co-operatives final forecast that is being conducted this month. Household food security in these areas wills likely return back to normal after the harvest in May 2015.


    Figure 1


    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top