Tanzanian government lifts ban on maize export after a bumper harvest

TANZANIA – The Tanzanian government has lifted the ban on maize export following a bumper harvest of the crop last season which surpassed what the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) can purchase reports Daily News.

Speaking during an Agricultural Policy workshop organised by Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT) in Dar es Salaam, Japheth Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture, said that the government is working with the private sector to connect farmers with markets in neighbouring countries and beyond.

“The country has surplus food especially maize after harvesting up to 125 per cent in the last season.

Our ambassadors are helping in searching for markets in needy countries like South Sudan, DR Congo, and Malawi.

We will then inform the private sector on how many tonnes are needed in a given country for shipping them.”

He added that the government is intending boost the industrial development and employment creation especially through agro-processing industries that will add value on agricultural commodities before exporting them.

“Agriculture directly employs 65% of the population while other 8% is benefiting indirectly through business, there is no way this sector can be ignored in industrial drive.

“Agro-processing industries means value addition, increased price and motivation to produce more.”

He also highlighted that the agricultural sector employs about 65% of the total population in Tanzania with an additional 8% benefiting indirectly through business and therefore the importance of agriculture in the country could not be over-emphasised.

The agro-processing venture in the country is viewed as one which investors can capitalize on in a bid to increase employment opportunities in the country.

Cassava and maize are some of the produce that investors were highly advised to add value considering that the market demand is way over what is supplied by the country.

According to, Jolenta Joseph from Sokoine University Graduate company limited (SUGECO), the millennials in the country focus in ventures that will bring down the malnutrition problems in the country.

“When we hear of malnutrition or deficiency of some vitamins like the case of children, means someone has a market for that,” she said.

Tanzania had moved to ban maize exports in June 2017 but had temporarily lifted it in the year following a bumper harvest in the season.

The bumper maize, which could not all be bought by the government opened the door to exports to allow next farming circle to move on smoothly.

By then the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan had officially requested for maize supplies.

The government has for a long period sustained the ban on export of maize on grounds including shortage of food in some parts of the country as well as a deliberate move to bring the inflation down.

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 USDA’s GAIN report.

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.

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

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