A NEW survey by the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) has suggested that the government should meet its financial commitments to enable the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to meet its optimal capacity and national targets.
Presenting the research findings at Stakeholders Validation Workshop here, ESRF Head of the Commissioned Research department, Vivian Kazi, said NFRA need to retain the core functions of stocking food for national food security and emergency purposes.
ESRF, in collaboration with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the ministry of Agriculture, conducted a study on Strengthening Food Security and Export Trade in Tanzania (SFSETT) which recommended that NFRA should use open the market when it wants to recycle its old stock.
"This is likely to increase grain in business to benefit farmers," she said, adding: "According to the study, stock food for emergency declined from 8.4per cent in 2014/2015 to 1.6per cent of the produced maize in 2017/2018."
According to the research findings, recycling of food stocks by replenishing three year old stocks with new ones by 30per cent of the annual stock by releasing food into the market based on information about non availability of food supply in food deficit regions or districts, or when there is high price increase in the respective areas.
The study further found out that on food trading, for exporting maize in the region and through World Food Programme (WFP), NFRA traded 549,454 Metric Tonnes of maize to Zambia and Rwanda at the average price between US Dollars 250 to US Dollars 400, in 2018/2018.
The objectives of the study, according to Ms Kazi, were to improve operational linkages between institutions with key roles of food security and food trade in Tanzania as well as mapping operations of institutions dealing with food security and trade.
Others were assessing the suitability of the institutions on meeting the establishing roles and providing recommendations for improving operations of the key institutions on dealing with food security and trade. Speaking at the validation workshop, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Agriculture, Professor Siza Tumbo, asked all stakeholders in the sector to look on how best the price of maize can go down.
The PS expressed his dismay over why the price of maize was going up while there was enough maize in the country.
He said the price had soared to 107,000/-per sack while during the corresponding period last year it was only 65,000/-.
Prof Tumbo said currently, economic growth in the agriculture sector was pegged at 5.3per cent and that the target was to reach 6per cent