Tanzania: Maize Price Soars in Tanzania

There will be no regulation of the price of maize and other cereals despite a growing shortage that has seen the local staple food hit Tsh110,00 ($47.9) per 100-kilogramme bag, up from Tsh65,000 ($28.3) last year.

President John Magufuli said on Wednesday that the government will not intervene and will instead allow market forces to regulate prices.

He urged farmers to make the most out of the situation as producers. He added that farmers have earned that right to determine their earnings and should do so.

There is a high demand for maize in the Southern African Development Co-operation as well as East Africa where maize is a staple. Tanzanian farmers are free to sell their produce to Zambia, Malawi, DR Congo, Kenya and South Africa. Dar es Salaam is the most hit by the increase in maize prices. In most city suburbs, the average cost for 1kg of maize flour retails for between Tsh1,500 ($0.6) and Tsh1,800 ($0.7) compared with the previous quarter when it retailed for between Tsh1,000 ($0.4) and Tsh1,300 ($0.5).

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that in rural areas, the current retail price for maize flour ranges between Tsh800 ($0.3) and Tsh950 ($0.4).

The maize shortage has been occasioned by the ongoing heavy rains being experienced in most parts in the country, making it hard for transporters to access farms. However, the country's food situation remains stable according to Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga.

Mr Hasunga said Tanzania has enough food stock. Demand for maize currently stands at 5,462,390 tonnes per year, with a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.

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