THE government has issued a preliminary food assessment report, which shows that the country will, this farming season, record bumper harvest, but few regions may need some food relief.
“The regions expected to experience food shortage with the rate of 98-99 per cent, include Dodoma, Mara, Mwanza, Arusha, Tabora, Shinyanga, Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro,” Minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
He added that the evalua-tion showed that food availability was expected to be at surplus level in 11 regions with the rate of 128-227 per cent, while seven regions were expected to be selfsufficient with the rate of 109-119 per cent.
He noted that crop production at national level in the 2018/19 season showed a possibility of reaching 16,408,309 tonnes of harvest for grain equivalent with cereal crops recording 9,007,909 tonnes and 7,400,400 tonnes for non-cereals.
However, compared to the last season (2017/18), food crop production has decreased by 483,665 tonnes wherein cereals, especially maize, has decreased by 455,642 tonnes and rice by 210,454 tonnes.
Generally, the report shows non-cereal production has increased by 46,283 tonnes. “The overall production of cereal crops this farming season has reached 103 per cent and non- cereals 145 per cent, bringing average crop production in general to 119 per cent,” he said.
The contribution of food crop production nationally in 2018/19 shows that maize has contributed for 35 per cent, cassava (17 per cent), rice (12 per cent), potatoes (10 per cent), among other crop contributions.
“The current food security results from high production in the 2017/18 season,” explained Mr Hasunga, stressing that despite such a situation, food stability was expected to differ at regional level.
“The reasons behind food shortage in some regions include delayed rainfall, destructive insects, mostly fall armyworms and animals.” According to him, the government is set to strengthen food security to enable it offer food relief, whenever needed.
It is also set to evaluate the food status and nutrition as early as possible in all district and municipal councils, which seem to have indicators of food shortage and get prepared to do something about it.
“The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) as well as Cereals and other Produce Board of Tanzania (CPB) are on preparations to start buying food crops from the regions with surplus production.
Similarly, we look forward to also solidifying farm inputs’ availability and distribution system, including fertilisers, pesticides and seeds,” he said.