TANZANIA – The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has said that the food aid granted by the US government in collaboration with Global Communities followed all the necessary inspection procedures in importation and that it is safe.

This is after the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam revealed that the US Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the NGO Global Communities, has donated “fortified rice, pinto beans, and sunflower seed oil to be distributed to over 300 schools in the country under the programme called ‘Pamoja Tuwalishe’.

The announcement, however, hit a raw nerve and sparked a contentious debate on the country’s social media platforms, questioning the safety of the food products.

Gladness Kaseka, TBS Public Relations and Marketing Manager, however, made a public statement stating that food fortification is accepted, where its main purpose is to improve the nutritional status of consumers.

“We will continue and fully manage the responsibility of ensuring that food entering the country meets all the safety standards,” Gladness said.

Agriculture Minister criticizes US food donation amid abundant harvest

Meanwhile, despite the safety approval, Tanzanian Agriculture Minister Hussein Mohamed Bashe has urged the US government to buy Tanzanian produce instead of sending heavily subsidised food aid to the country.

Bashed stated that Tanzania is making significant progress towards achieving food self-sufficiency, asking the collaborating organization to enrich the local rice instead.

We have communicated with the NGO overseeing the school feeding programme in primary and secondary schools to relay the message to Americans that rice and beans are abundant in our country,” stated Hussein.

Our country is self-sufficient; we don’t need to import food from the US,” Hussein said, adding that the money that they are using to give to American farmers should be given to Tanzanian farmers instead.

According to the minister, Tanzania has invested enormous resources and efforts to combat food insecurity within the country. This year, the nation achieved a remarkable milestone by yielding a bumper harvest, bringing it closer to achieving food self-sufficiency.

The country expects a rice harvest of 5 million metric tonnes this year, a significant increase from the previous estimate of 2.3 million metric tonnes, while the national demand for this staple food is slightly over 1 million metric tonnes.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.