Areas under 4 councils ‘face food shortages’

What you need to know:

  • The key drivers have been named as prolonged dry spells, pests and diseases affecting crops and livestock and the people’s low purchasing power

Dar es Salaam. Areas under four local authorities in mainland Tanzania face food shortages, with the number projected to increase if dry spells and erratic rainfall continue, according to a new analysis.

The four district councils are Handeni, Longido, Mkinga and Monduli - with those projected to join the trend being Korogwe Town Council (TC), Mwanga and Same district councils (DC).

Apart from the seven, the analysis was also conducted in seven other councils, namely: Bahi DC; Handeni TC; Korogwe DC; Manyoni DC; Meatu DC; Musoma DC and Rorya DC.

The key drivers have been named as prolonged dry spells, pests and diseases affecting crops and livestock and the people’s low purchasing power.

However, the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) recently released a weather forecast showing that most parts of the country would receive average or above average rainfall from the third or fourth week of February 2022.

The analysis - titled “Integrated Food Security Phase Classification” (IPC) - covered two phases: November 2021 to April 2022, as well as May to September 2022.

The analysis was conducted under the patronage of the Agriculture ministry, with technical and financial support from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (Fao) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The IPC analysis shows that, between November 2021 and April 2022, some 437,000 people - equivalent to 13 percent of the 3.4 million analysed population - would experience “high levels of acute food insecurity’.

An estimated 22,000 people (equivalent to one percent of the analysed population) were found to be in an emergency, while 415,000 people (12 percent) were in places under crisis, according to the analysis.

Furthermore, 785,000 people (23 percent) were classified as “stressed,” while 2,182,000 people (about 64 percent) has “complete food security.

“The four councils (Handeni DC, Longido, Mkinga, and Monduli) are classified to be in IPC Phase 3 (crisis), with 20-to-30 percent of the population experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity,” the analysis reveals.

But, between May and September 2022, the analysis says the people with acute food insecurity will increase to 497,000 (about 17 percent of the population).

“Decline in production will place 95,000 people (three percent) in an emergency; 929,000 people (26 percent) in crisis and 1,997,000 people (57 percent) in food security,” according to the analysis.

In 2019, the analysis indicated that 20 percent of the population in 16 analysed district councils were estimated to experience “high levels of acute food insecurity”.

However, the May to September 2022 projection indicates a deterioration compared to the 2019 analysis when 10 percent of the population was projected to face acute food insecurity between May and September 2020.

Furthermore, the according shows that due to poor harvests, an estimated 75.35 percent households in surveyed councils have run out of food stocks with the majority using traditional storage mechanisms that negatively affect stock levels.

The analysis also shows that increasing food crop prices and decreasing livestock prices was reported due to deterioration of livestock conditions caused by inadequate pasture and water.

Therefore, several recommendations were outlined including reducing food consumption gaps by improving access to food in deficit areas through release of some strategic reserves in the markets at subsidised prices.

“This will allow access to households with low purchasing power and provision of food aid during a period of January to April 2022,” recommends the analysis.

Others are engaging humanitarian and development partners in provision of food relief and livelihood support as well as promoting implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices.

Provide farm inputs, early maturity seeds and drought-tolerant seed varieties to most vulnerable households during the rainy season and continue monitoring the country’s rainfall performance, says the analysis.

Analysis also recommends strengthening livestock pests and diseases surveillance and promoting crop diversification amongst smallholder farmers.