Maize flour prices fall marginally

Wednesday December 19 2018

A farmer strips grains off a maize cob.

A farmer strips grains off a maize cob. PHOTO|FILE 

By Mnaku Mbani @mnaku28

Dar es Salaam. Maize flour prices fell slightly in October, the Bank of Tanzania economic review for November shows.

Citing a report by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing computations, the review shows that the wholesale maize price fell to Sh37,670 for a 100-kilo bag in October 2018, down from Sh38,691.8 the previous month.

On an annual basis, the review shows that the price fell by 30.7 per cent in October 2018, from Sh54,389.2 in October 2017.

The situation is expected to lower retail prices, which have risen to Sh1,000 a kilo, up from Sh800 in July this year.

Already the Ministry of Agriculture has said that harvest will be bumper this year.

In October, the National Food Reserve Agency sold 70.7 tonnes of maize to private traders, World Food Programme and Prisons Department.

It purchased 9,281.2 tonnes.

However, Tanzania’s maize production is forecast to decline to 5.25 million tonnes for 2018/19, down from 5.35 million tonnes the previous year.

Pests will cut production, according to a report by Global Agricultural Information Network of the USDA.

USDA further notes that apart from diseases such as maize lethal necrosis and fall army worms, unavailability of improved seeds, inefficient fertiliser delivery system and post-harvest losses are also a hindrance. The maize lethal necrosis disease is a result of a combination of two viruses, the maize chlorotic mottle virus and any of the cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group.

Fall armyworm can be one of the more difficult insect pests to control in field.

Estimates of post-harvest losses range from 10 to 15 per cent of the annual production.

Maize is Tanzania’s staple, accounting for 70 per cent of annual cereal production.