6 August 2011

Tanzania: Drought-Stricken Northern Zone Now Faces Food Crisis

More relief food is to be sent to hunger-stricken families in Simanjiro district, Manyara region as the situation gets more critical each passing day, according to the government officials.

The district commissioner Mr. Khalid Mandia said although the district has received emergency food in the last two months, much more was needed following a recent assessment of the situation.

Without figures on the number of the families affected or the food needs, district administrator said they have requested for additional food supplies from the government because the situation has worsened due to the deepening drought.

"President Jakaya Kikwete has vowed no Tanzanian would die of hunger. So we would ensure more food is brought to save the lives of people in Simanjiro", he said during a visit to Simanjiro to assess the situation.

Mr. Mandia said there were little harvests of cereals in Simanjiro district during the just-ended 2010/2011 farming season due to insufficient rains, a situation also witnessed in much of Manyara and Arusha regions.

According to him, recently the district received 1,300 tonnes of maize was brought into the district from the Disaster Management Unit of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and distributed to badly affected villages.

Some of the maize was sold at Sh. 50 per kilogramme to the families in need of food while a portion was distributed free of charge to critically affected families which had no means to purchase it.

When tabling the 2011/1012 budget estimates of his ministry a fortnight ago, the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe mentioned Simanjiro as one of the 53 districts badly affected by food shortage this year.

Other districts in Manyara region which face a critical food shortage are Babati and Mbulu. The situation, according to the minister, is much worse in neighbouring Arusha region where the looming hunger has been exacerbated by drying up of water sources.

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