Group joins the fray in drought wrangling

Wednesday January 18 2017

Dar es Salaam. Although drought has struck some parts of Tanzania, the actual food situation will be known during the harvest season, a farmers’ network has said.

“It is too early to know the state of food, executive director of the Tanzania’s National Network of Farmers Groups (Mviwata), Mr Steven Ruvuga, said here yesterday.

The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) last year predicted that the country would have poor rain. “Indeed, rain is poor in regions such as Morogoro and Dodoma,” Mr Ruvuga said.

He added that it was the responsibility of the Ministry Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to evaluate the actual situation of food countrywide. At the weekend the Tanzania Episcopal Conference issued a pastoral letter, urging Catholic bishops to organise vigils and fasting to pray for rain. The National Muslim Council (Bakwata) also urged the faithful to pray for rain.

The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Dr Fredrick Shoo, has spoken of hunger tormenting the Northern Zone. He said the church had been supporting some famished families.

“Hunger is a threat in northern regions and there are families we know that do not have food and we are giving out relief,” he said, adding that crop failure rather than laziness was to blame for their predicament. He urged the government to quickly survey affected areas and plan to provide relief as necessary,” he lamented.