‘Grain sufficiency fully assured for 2020/2021’

19Aug 2020
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
‘Grain sufficiency fully assured for 2020/2021’

​​​​​​​THE government has projected that Tanzania will record food sufficiency of over 100 per cent in the year 2020/2021 even as demand for supplies set to increase.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Agriculture minister Japheth Hasunga said the national demand for grain is projected to reach 14,347,955 tonnes in the current fiscal year, from 13,842,536 tonnes demand level in 2019/2020.

The main part of about 9,131,803 tonnes are cereals and 5,216,152 tonnes are non cereal staples, with the demand and actual production  countruwide expected to raise a surplus produce of 3,394,434 tonnes whereby 1,322,020 tonnes are cereals and 2,072,413 tonnes are non cereals.

In terms of the self sufficiency ratio (SSR), the country is expected to attain 124 percent sufficiency in the current farming season, up from 119 percent in 2018/2019.

There is sufficient food in the country but people must store enough food staples for future use at household level, he said.

He said the country’s annual demand for maize stands at 5,737,132 tonnes and has a surplus of 651,314 tonnes, twice the surplus level in the 2018/2019 farming year. Demand for rice is pegged at 1,087,646 tonnes with a surplus of 1,855,249 tonnes from what is produced by farmers.

‘If one compares the expected production and the actual demand you realize that availability of food in the country is satisfactory,” he said, noting that a ministerial evaluation during the past farming year, 2019/2020 showed that maize contributes 36 percent of total needs for food staples.

Rice followed with rice 16.6 per cent contribution, cassava 14 per cent, potatoes 9.2 per cent while, millet(5.9 per cent) and wheat 4.0 per cent of the demand. However, despite having enough food staples in the country there are districtsl where grain shortage will be experienced, he said.

 About 12 districts in seven regions have indications of likely food shortages, with 10 districts located in regions with adequate grain levels and two districts feature in regions with surplus production of staples, he pointed out.

Districts likely to face shortages in food staples are Kilwa, Lindi, Liwale and Ruangwa in Lindi region. In Singida region Ikungi, Itigi and Manyoni districts face shortages, and in Manyara region only Simanjiro is likely to experience shortages. Meatu district in Simiyu region, Musoma district in Mara region and Sumbawanga district in Rukwa region are also exposed to the risk of shortages, he said.

Despite having stable availability of food staples nationally, the situation is likely to differ from region to region, with 11 regions having an oversupply of food staples, namely Geita, Morogoro, Kagera, Iringa, Kigoma, Njombe, Mbeya, Katavi, Songwe, Rukwa and  Ruvuma, at more than 120 per cent level.

Those with sufficient  amounts ranging from 104 to 109 percent levels group 14 regions, namely Arusha, Coast, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Mtwara, Dodoma, Lindi, Singida, Mara, Mwanza, Shinyanga, Simiyu and Manyara, with Dar es Salaam likely to experience a three percent shortage of grain.

The government urged farmers to adopt modern farming technologies to improve productivity, with the minister promising to ensure a conducive environment to enhance productivity.

In the 2019/2020 food production year, the national average level of maize harvest increased from 1.5 tonnes per hectare in 2018/2019 to 1.6 tonnes per hectare.

Rice production increased from 3.0 tonnes per hectare in 2018/2019 to 3.4 tonnes per hectare in 2019/2020, despite that the season had experienced various challenges that has affected expected levels of food staples in the 2020/2021 farming season.

Floods were experienced in Morogoro, Lindi, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Dodoma, Singida, Katavi, Kagera, Tanga, Coast, Songwe, Iringa, Mbeya and Rukwa regions resulting to low production of crops, the minister added.

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