19 February 2013

Tanzania: Handeni District Appeals for 17,000 Tonnes of Cereals to Alleviate Hunger

HANDENI District is appealing for 17,000 tonnes of cereals to offset food deficit caused by prolonged droughts.

The Handeni District Commissioner, Mr Muhingo Rweyemamu, said over the weekend that the situation was alarming and needed urgent measures to rescue. "Everywhere I go, people have nothing to say to me except 'hunger', it is a big problem and it's mainly due to prolonged droughts as farmers here did not harvest in the previous season," he said.

Just like many parts of the country, farmers in Handeni have been producing for subsistence and in case the rain is not sufficient, in a season, they are bound to be hit by hunger. However, the DC said intervention has been made already and 300 tonnes have been made available for both free and at subsidized prices.

"The actual demand is 17,000 tonnes but we have received 150 in the first batch and were sold at 900/- per kilo, now we have received another 150 out of which 16 will be distributed for free and the rest be sold at 50/- per kilo," he said.

The Tanga Regional Commissioner, Capt Chiku Galawa, was recently quoted calling upon residents in the region to develop a hardworking habit and produce surplus, to avoid hunger. Ms Galawa also emphasized that the government would only distribute food to families that will be able to prove that in the previous season they tried to cultivate some food crops but in vain.

As some regions are facing food shortages, the price of serials and its products in the local markets is skyrocketing due to limited supply. The government recently approved the release of some 40,000 tonnes of maize from the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to help lower hiking prices of maize flour.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food security and Cooperatives, Mr Christopher Chiza, said 20,000 tonnes were to be sold between January and February and other 20,000 would be sold from March. "Maize will be sold to agents at a lower price of only 450/- per kilogramme, deliberately to make traders also sell the flour to consumers at a reasonable price," Mr Chiza said.

The Minister said that all regions were demanded to appoint reliable milling agents who would eventually sell the flour to consumers all over the country at reasonable prices. The government through disaster management committee in October last year, released relief food amounting to 28,350 tonnes to 12 regions that were badly hit by hunger.

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