In order for Tanzania rice exports to remain competitive in international markets, in particular if international prices revert back to pre-2008 levels, rice productivity and the performance of value chains need to be improved as well as reducing the export costs.
Monitoring African Food and Agriculture Policies (MAFAP) country report launched last week in Dar es Salaam underlined that “Specific actions could include reducing the high costs associated with domestic transport and marketing, as well as increasing storage capacity.”
During the period in which Tanzania was a net importer of rice (2005-2009), producers received prices that were higher than those prevailing in international markets.
Protection was not only due to the import tariff but also due to high costs at the port of Dar es Salaam. However, levels of protection decreased as the country eventually became a net exporter of rice in 2010.
MAFAP analysis shows that rice producers in Tanzania received prices that were higher than international reference prices.
These findings are consistent with the government’s policy of protecting farmers from imports which has helped foster an increase in rice production, the report says.
Indeed, Tanzania has shifted from being a net importer to a net exporter of small quantities of rice to neighbouring countries.
However, the report notes that high prices at the farm gate resulted in higher prices for consumers which could compromise food security.
In order to achieve the Tanzania Rice Development Strategy’s objectives of transforming the rice sector into a commercially viable production system, rice should be made more affordable to consumers, and making the country’s rice exports more competitive in regional markets.
MAFAP works in ten countries in Africa including Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda where intensive policy analysis and monitoring work is being undertaken in collaboration with counterpart institutions and research institutes.
These activities include in-depth analyses of market incentives and disincentives, as well as public expenditures.
In Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique and Nigeria, preparatory policy analysis and monitoring work is being undertaken and includes a market incentives and disincentives analysis for selected commodities.
The report also gives analysis of public expenditure to support agriculture and rural development in Tanzania and gives information about capacity development in using MAFAP’s methodology to analyse market incentives and disincentives as well as public expenditure.
The country report was conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.