THE World Food Programme (WFP) plans to buy 75,000 metric tonnes of maize from Tanzania in the next six months, as it continues to expand market access to corns from Tanzania.
The visiting Executive Director of the UN organisation, David Beasley said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that WFP planned to buy between 75,000 and 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from the 30,000 tonnes it had already bought so far, as it continues to expand reliable market for maize produced in Tanzania.
“We will buy more from the farmers. We are going to buy 75,000 metric tonnes of maize between now and the end of the year,” he told reporters, adding that they were also looking for better ways of incorporating the private sector in supplying the crop.
Mr Beasley said they were closely working with the Dar es Salaam Port and the Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) in shipment of food consignments, noting that improved efficiency at the Dar es Salaam Port and TRL led to lowering of transportation costs.
WFP is using Dar es Salaam Port and TRL facilities to transport consignments of food to East and Central African countries. Its shipment was the main cargo consignment in the recently re-opened Mwanza to Port Bell rail-lake-rail corridor on Lake Victoria.
The route reduces transit time by over 50 per cent and costs by 40 per cent, meaning WFP can get food more quickly to those in need in neighbouring, landlocked countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
WFP has also established strategic hubs in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Isaka, to coordinate logistics in support of programmes in Tanzania and neighbouring countries. Its robust network is helping to boost the national economy and provide jobs for local transporters in addition to directly supporting the Dar es Salaam Port and TRL.
According to a Communications Consultant for the WFP’s Tanzania office, Max Wohlgemuth, in 2017, 200,000 metric tonnes (mt) of WFP food assistance was transported using Tanzania’s supply chain services, injecting 23 million US dollars into the economy.
WFP pledged on Thursdayto support Tanzania’s smallholder farmers to move away from subsistence farming and improve their food security. The WFP Executive Director said the UN organisation will support the smallholder farmers by addressing the causes of postharvest losses in key commodity crops, access to extension services, quality inputs and access to markets.
In 2015/2016, the WFP commissioned a comprehensive Zero Hunger Strategy Review on food security and nutrition in the east African nation based on the targets of Sustainable Development Goal number two --zero hunger.
Mr Beasley said the WFP has co-designed a multi-stakeholder initiative to increase the incomes of 250,000 smallholder farmers in prioritised regions. Under the support, the WFP will specifically target women farmers both in farming and in small-scale processing, said the WFP chief.