Dar es Salaam residents are having to dig deeper into their pockets to buy maize flour.
A survey carried out by The EastAfrican found that in most shops in Dar’s suburbs, the average cost of a retail price for 1kg maize flour ranges between Tsh1,500 ($0.6) and Tsh1,800 ($0.7) from between Tsh1,000 ($0.4) and Tsh1,300 ($0.5) in the previous quarter of this year.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that in rural areas the current retail price for maize flour—consumed by the majority of citizens—has slightly increased by an average rate of between Tsh800 ($0.3) and Tsh950 ($0.4).
The price fluctuations come at a time when Tanzania has experienced bumper harvests on cereal crops during the previous 2017/2018 harvesting season.
Millers in Dar es Salaam are facing a shortage of maize grains at various market centres and have attributed it to the ongoing heavy rains experienced in most parts in the country, which has hindered transportation of maize grains to the main city’s milling centres and caused a supply shortage.
Despite a slight increase in maize flour prices, the country’s food situation remains stable according to Agriculture Minister Japhet Hassunga. He added that Tanzania has enough food stock totalling 16 million tonnes.
Mr Hassunga said the price increase was normal since some areas in the country did not have good harvests. Poor transport is another factor that contributes to the price rate.
Maize is one of the main and most important food crops in Tanzania whose production accounts for more than 70 per cent of the cereal produced in the country.
It is grown in all 20 regions of the country on about 45 per cent of the cultivated area. Most of the maize is produced in the Southern Highlands, the Lake zone, and the Northern zone.
According to data from Bank of Tanzania, demand for maize currently stands at 5,462,390 tonnes per year, with a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.