TANZANIA – Tanzania seeks to seize the region’s maize trade opportunity amid the impacts of El Nino-induced drought on the biggest producers of maize, according to Hussein Bashe, Minister of Agriculture.

Bashe revealed that the country is projecting to harvest 10 million tonnes of maize and 5 million tonnes of rice in the 2023/24 season.

According to him, the country’s consumption needs stand at 6 million tonnes currently, hence, the surplus would enable the country to expand its trade by supplying to neighbours, including Kenya, Congo and Rwanda.

Tanzania produced more than 8.1m tons of maize in the 2022/23 season. However, for the current season, good weather coupled with the state’s fertilizer subsidy has boosted farmers’ yields, he noted.

Bashe highlighted that, on the regional outlook, the biggest producers of maize are Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Uganda. However, due to the effects of El Nino, Zambia and South Africa currently do not have maize.

Bashe adds that Malawi and Mozambique are experiencing a shortage of maize this year presenting a great opportunity for Tanzania to export maize to different countries.

The projection is more than 10M tonnes, and countries with shortages have started communicating with us,” says the minister.

According to the Minister, some farmers have started harvesting and the prices have started to go down. He has, however, assured them that the government plans to buy maize at a price of Tshs 750 (US$0.29) through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to protect farmers from middlemen.

The minister advised Tanzanian traders to take advantage of the shortage in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique by using the Embassies in these countries to get customers.

He also advised maize farmers who planted in Nov and Dec to start harvesting and take advantage of the upcoming rains to plant Open-Pollinated Varieties and Hybrid seeds which are being distributed by the government as subsidies.

He also urges them not to rush selling the maize at a bargain price but to preserve and protect the quality since prices will get better from June. 

According to Bashe, the Kenyan market is expected to start late until July-August where Tanzania competes with Uganda for customers. 

Our initial assessment of the demand for the countries I mentioned without Kenya is more than 1.2m tonnes. The basic thing to realize when you go to other countries is to understand their laws.”

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