TANZANIA – The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has purchased 18,294.314 tonnes of cereals to strengthen the state’s food security, now the reserve has a total volume of 159,870.216 tonnes of food stored in its warehouses.
Daily News TZ reports that the announcement was made by Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe while addressing the parliament in Dodoma.
Bashe said the government would continue expanding its capacity to store food from 251,000 tonnes to 506,000 tonnes.
Tanzania’s National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has the mandate to guarantee national food security through procuring, reserving, and recycling grain stocks, primarily maize, and doing so in a cost-effective manner.
Last year, the agency outlined various measures it is instituting to guarantee food security in the country, including increasing its storage capacity from the current 341,000 tonnes to 700,000 come 2025/26.
Milton Lupa, the NFRA Chief Executive Officer further revealed that currently, the agency only purchases three crops which are maize, sorghum, and paddy, but plans are underway to add more crops because food needs have also changed.
Meanwhile, Bashe hinted that the government had begun a feasibility study to build a storage facility to increase the storage capacity to 3,000,000 tonnes by 2030.
“The goal is to ensure that our country can store food for six months in case we face a period of disaster for the protection of our economy, dignity, and freedom,” he said.
According to Bashe, availability and access to food have been drastically reducing in Tanzania, with farming activities shrinking considerably, partly because of rising fertilizer costs.
He added that rising operating costs for farmers combined with the drought have led to a reduction in agricultural production referring to a recent study by the non-governmental organization HelpAge International.
According to HelpAge, most households are coping by using cheaper (hence less nutritious) food (90 percent), reducing the number of meals per day (85 percent), and reducing food quantities per meal (84 percent).
Bashe, therefore, called upon the government to allocate subsidies to the agricultural sector to make food production affordable again, pointing out fuel subsidies as it believes they can effectively reduce escalating fuel prices.