Tanzania’s corn production to fall 2% for 2018/2019 harvest

TANZANIA – Tanzania’s corn production is forecast to decline 2% to 5.25 million tonnes for the year 2018/19 down from 5.35 million tonnes in the previous year, affected by pests and diseases, according to a report by Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) of the USDA.

USDA further noted that apart from a major impact from diseases such as Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) and Fall Army Worm (FAW), the fall was also affected by lack of improved seeds, inefficient fertilizer delivery system and post-harvest loss.

The cropping season saw an earlier onset of seasonal rains and a dry spell followed in November leading to delayed planting operations.

Total area used for corn harvesting is projected to decrease by 2.3% and exports to neighboring countries is also projected to decrease by 20% due to difficulty of getting export permit from the Government of Tanzania.

Although ending stocks are expected to decrease due to lower crop productivity and increased consumption, minimal imports were expected from neighbouring countries due to informal trade across the border.

White corn being the main staple grain consumed in Tanzania, providing 80% of dietary calories and more than 35% of utilizable protein to the population, total corn consumption is expected to increase to 5.3 MMT, as rapid population growth offsets declining per capita consumption.

Corn feed and residual is forecast to remain flat due to low production and minimal postharvest loss.

In Tanzania, corn is traded through channels including small-scale farmers, grain traders and millers and institutional buyers.

Tight supplies and early season dryness that most likely will affect the crop have led to maize prices declining in all markets, with the highest drop (50-60%) seen in April and November 2017, according to GAIN report.

Tanzania exports corn to Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya, but this export market is unstable.

“Tanzania’s export trade is largely opportunistic, often illegal, and depends on many internal and external factors,” the USDA said.

“Periodic export bans discourage traders from seeking large export contracts and encourage bribery and illegal trade at border posts or on bush ‘panya’ routes located along Tanzania’s highly permeable borders.”

Wheat consumption for 2017/18 is expected to increase while its government expects rice exports to Eastern Africa region to increase by one-third in the marketing year.

Tanzania commercially imports wheat from Russia, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Brazil bringing its wheat import bill to estimated US$225 million per year.

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