TANZANIA – Maize prices declined by an average of 40% for the last three months as a result of increase in supply, according to an article on the Citizen.

According to data by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, prices fell in many regions, a 100-kilo bag of maize dropping to US$17.99 on July 20 compared to US$30.71 in April this year.

However, wholesale price rose from an average of US$13.16 to US$26.33 while retail prices in various city markets dropped to US$0.31 from between US$0.39 and US$0.44 per kilo.

Increase in supply of the commodity was attributed to increased yields in many regions given that many farmers were still selling crops of the last year and some had started harvesting.

“Many farmers have sold about 60 per cent of their produce, but this year’s harvest is expected to be bigger,” said an assistant registrar of Cooperative societies in Iringa Region, Mr Robert George.

He added that the growers were optimistic to access a suitable market for their produce through the Warehouse Receipt System.

A warehouse receipt system (WRS) enables farmers to deposit storable goods (usually grains or coffee) in exchange for a warehouse receipt (WR).

Maize prices were expected to fall further as many regions were still harvesting the crop.

The crop accounts for 74.3% of cereals grown in Tanzania, planted on 6,067,996 hectares on 2017 of which 6,062,433 hectares were on Mainland Tanzania and 5,563 hectares in Zanzibar, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Tanzania is the largest producer of maize in East Africa and among the top 25 maize producing countries in the world but expansion of the sector is limited by barriers such as prohibitive government policies, high costs and lack of financial capacity.