Drought and poor harvest have disrupted Tanzania’s supply of maize, pushing up the price of the commodity.
According to December 2021 reports by the Ministry of Agriculture, prices for maize grains are fluctuating and are fetching different prices at local markets across the country.
The National Bureau of Statistics shows that a 100-kg 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 increased the wholesale price codes for a bag of maize flour weighing 25kg from $7.8 to $10.8. In most shops a one-kilogramme packet of maize flour was going for between $0.6 and $0.65. The packet previously cost between $0.43 and $0.52.
The ministerial report shows that despite the country facing a maize shortage. Its food situation remains stable.
"Tanzania has enough food stock," Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe said.
According to the Bank of Tanzania, the country’s demand for maize stands at 5.4 million tonnes per year, with a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.
Maize is one of the main food crops in Tanzania whose production accounts for more than 70 percent of cereals produced in the country. It is grown in all 20 regions, on about 45 percent of the cultivated area. Most of the maize is produced in the Southern Highlands, the Lake zone, and the Northern zone.
Tanzania is the largest producer of maize in East Africa.
Maize trade is part of bilateral deals between Tanzania and other EAC states, notably Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda, as it is a common staple food for African community members.
In Kenya, millers have warned of a major crisis that could lead to the government reviewing importation of maize under a subsidy programme to lower flour prices that have increased beyond the reach of most households.
Experts have warned of further increase in maize prices due to a decline in yields from 44 million to 33 million bags. An estimated 2.5 million families, especially in the northern parts of the country, are facing hunger.
Kenya's Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga confirmed last week that, “most of the maize is imported from Tanzania and Uganda, hence Kenyan government is tracking production and consumption of this critical commodity and available stocks.