TANZANIA – Tanzanian maize farmers are in for a bountiful harvest season, with the Ministry of Agriculture anticipating a surplus exceeding 1.2 million tonnes.

Hussein Bashe, Minister for Agriculture, said Tanzania expects to produce 31.5 million tonnes of food crops compared with 20.4 million tonnes harvested last year

Particularly, Bashe revealed that the country expects to harvest over 10 million tonnes of maize during the 2024 season, which runs between mid-June and July, urging farmers to seek markets in neighboring countries for their surplus.

The country expects a bumper harvest, and the surplus will exceed the preliminary demand assessment of maize,” the Ministry reported.

According to Bashe, Tanzania produced 8.1 million tonnes of maize last year against a demand of 6 million tonnes, making a surplus of 2.1 million tonnes for export markets.

The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) is taking proactive measures by gearing up to purchase cereals from farmers earlier in July. This initiative aims to secure strategic stockpiles while creating a market for the surplus crops.

Dr Andrew Komba, the Executive Director for NFRA, said the agency was set to start buying maize, rice, and other food crops from farmers for storage and selling to local and foreign food markets beginning in July.

NFRA strategy was to manage food reserves to ensure sustainable supply that would meet both domestic and export needs, the food agency officials said

Minister Bashe advised maize traders to expand their businesses by looking for countries with a shortage of maize through export permits under the coordination of the Agricultural Trade Management Information System.

Highlighting the export potential, Mr. Bashe pointed out, “Tanzania’s annual total food demand and consumption is about 15 million tonnes, creating a surplus of food crops for export.”

The Minister encouraged maize traders to capitalize on this opportunity by seeking out markets with maize shortages.

He advised them to obtain export permits through the Agricultural Trade Management Information System.

Additionally, he urged traders to tap into the expanded food markets within the East African Community.

Tanzania has already secured a significant export deal, agreeing to supply 500,000 tonnes of maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through a trade agreement signed in May 2024. 

Minister Bashe noted that the maize business agreement with Congo was part of strategies that Tanzania is implementing to increase the export of food crops to other countries, aiming to become the center of food production in Africa.

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