TANZANIA will sell about 90,000 metric tonnes of maize worth 34.2bn/- to the World Food Programme (WFP) in a new business deal which makes the UN organization a strategic and potential buyer of the food crop.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Mr Mohamed Muya told the 'Daily News' on Sunday that WFP signed the deal after satisfying themselves with the quality of the maize.The organization which has been purchasing maize to feed refugees in refugee camps will purchase it in phases, and has started with 10,000 tonnes worth 3.9bn/- .
The purchase followed a previous agreement signed recently with the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy a consignment of 23,000 metric tonnes worth 8.4bn/-.
"The WFP deal will benefit the country economically and also support the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy more maize from farmers and boost the national stock," he explained.The completion of the first two purchase agreements will enable WFP arrange for another deal of 17,000 metric tonnes valued at 6.4bn/-, and 40,000 metric tonnes worth 16.2bn/-, noted Mr Muya.
During the last two seasons, NFRA consistently bought maize from farmers for 350/- per kilo. According to Mr Muya, the agency might increase the price depending on the production volume, demand and supply.
While the cereal mainly comes from Rukwa, Ruvuma, Iringa, Mbeya, Morogoro and Kigoma region, the new WFP deal would purchase maize from Songea District in Ruvuma Region only."We have very sufficient food reserve, that is why we have waived sanctions to export food, WFP alone uses 32 trucks to transport maize a day," he said.
In 2010/2011, according to Mr Muya, NFRA managed to buy 180,964 metric tonnes, (over 90 per cent of its target of 200,000 tonnes target).