TANZANIA –   Consumers across Tanzania are rejoicing as they continue to experience eased retail prices of maize flour, the country’s main staple, thanks to a significant decline in wholesale prices driven by the new harvest season.

Data released by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade indicates that the wholesale price of maize has plummeted by nearly 50 percent annually, reaching 70,468/- (US$27.1) per 100 kilograms by the end of March this year,

This drop marks the sharpest decrease witnessed over the past three years.

This notable drop in maize prices has been attributed to the government’s concerted efforts to boost production, resulting in increased supplies in various markets. The surge in production has been a welcome relief for both rural and urban consumers who heavily rely on maize as a dietary staple.

Despite these positive developments, challenges persist, particularly due to ongoing rains and floods in different parts of the country.

These natural disasters have not only disrupted supply logistics but also caused damage to road infrastructure in maize-producing regions, posing additional hurdles in distributing the commodity to areas previously affected by shortages.

In urban centres like Dar es Salaam, the impact of declining wholesale maize prices is being felt at the retail level, with maize flour prices dropping to as low as 1,300/- (US$0.5) per kilogramme, down from 2,000/- (US$ 0.77) recorded between July 2022 and March 2023.

This reduction in retail prices comes as a relief to consumers who have been grappling with the consequences of increased prices caused by supply shortages and heightened demand for export markets such as Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Zambia.

Tanzania to harvest 6.1 million tonnes of maize this year

Looking ahead, projections suggest that maize production in Tanzania is set to reach 6.1 million tonnes in the 2023-24 marketing year, with farmers responding positively to the improved prices for the grain.

However, challenges such as expensive fertilizer and outbreaks of armyworms are expected to constrain output, keeping it below historically average harvest levels.

According to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), drought-related production shortfalls in the previous year had more than doubled maize prices, underscoring the importance of stable production for ensuring food security.

In response to these challenges, the Tanzanian government has implemented measures to support maize farmers and stabilize the market.

Initiatives such as the maize purchasing program, which offers competitive rates and subsidies, aim to bolster farmers’ incomes and ensure a steady supply of maize flour for consumers.

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