Tanzania: Declare Shortage of Food, PM Tells Regional Authorities

THE Government has directed district and regional authorities hit by erratic climate conditions to declare actual demand for food aid as severe food shortages encroach.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced on Thursday that the state is aware of food shortages, especially in drought-hit rural areas, and wants authorities to report the shortage to the ministry of agriculture "to be considered for food aid."

Regions or districts will write a written request to the Ministry of Agriculture, describing the actual situation and volume of food required, the premier said.

He went on describing that the state through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), created the agency for the purpose, and is ready to deploy a team of experts from the ministry to survey the nature of the situation before releasing subsidized food.

President John Magufuli since coming to power called on district and regional authorities to ensure people work and fully utilize arable land and good condition for farming, warning that there won't be food aid.

In explaining, the premier said only areas hit by climate change will benefit from the government food aid. "NFRA will dispatch food at a subsidized price, and the money generated will be used to procure more volume of foodstuff needed during an emergency," he said.

Mr Majaliwa insisted that the government buys food and reserve for areas hit with food shortage.

The actual figure of people in need of food aid countrywide was still unclear, but MP Juma Nkamia (Chemba-CCM), alleged that many areas countrywide are facing acute food shortage.

While suggesting on the government to establish an independent committee to verify the actual food demand and supply, the legislator blamed district and regional security committee chairpersons for cooking figures.

"Regions such as Dodoma, Singida and Manyara among others are facing severe hunger, but the chairpersons (DCs and RCs), have been giving incorrect information, perhaps, due to fear," he said.

He suggested the committee should be empowered to prepare a detailed report on the actual figures with regards to food availability, stressing that it's not well across all the districts in Dodoma.

But the Prime Minister insisted that the reports from district and regional authorities will be verified by a team of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Almost three years ago, a local organization published its survey, detailing that 78 per cent of people in the country faced food shortages in the past months.

In rural areas, the figure rose to 84 per cent compared to 64 per cent in cities.

The government is equally urging local authorities to meet up with businessmen to chart better ways to supply foodstuff from regions that recorded high yields in previous farming season.

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