Drought hits maize supply and prices in Dar
Drought and crop failure have disrupted Tanzania’s maize supply, driving up the price of the commodity.
According to December 2021 reports from the Ministry of Agriculture, maize grain prices fluctuate and fetch different prices in local markets across the country.
The National Bureau of Statistics shows that a 100kg bag of maize now costs between $23.9 and $39.1, with the northern regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga and Manyara affected.
Last week, maize millers raised wholesale price codes for a bag of maize flour weighing 25 kg from $7.8 to $10.8. In most stores, a one-kilogram packet of maize flour sold for between $0.6 and $0.65. The package previously cost between $0.43 and $0.52.
The ministerial report shows this despite the country facing a shortage of maize. Its food situation remains stable.
“Tanzania has enough food stocks,” Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe said.
According to the Bank of Tanzania, the country’s maize demand stands at 5.4 million tonnes a year, with a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.
Maize is one of the major food crops in Tanzania producing more than 70 percent of the cereals produced in the country. It is grown in all 20 regions, on about 45 percent of the cultivated area. Most maize is produced in the southern highlands, the lake zone and the northern zone.
Tanzania is East Africa’s largest maize producer.
Maize trade is part of bilateral agreements between Tanzania and other EAC states including Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda as it is a common staple food for community members African.
In Kenya, millers have warned of a major crisis which could lead the government to review the import of maize under a subsidy program to bring down flour prices which have risen beyond the reach of most households.
Experts have warned of a further increase in maize prices due to a drop in yields from 44 million to 33 million bags. An estimated 2.5 million families, particularly in the north of the country, face hunger.
Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Agriculture, Hamadi Boga, confirmed last week that “most maize is imported from Tanzania and Uganda, so the Kenyan government is monitoring the production and consumption of this essential commodity and stocks available.