Ban on maize export ‘benefits rich people’

A survey undertaken by Sera Policy Project whose results were released last week established that despite regular maize export bans, actual exports of the staple crop have not been affected.

“The research results indicated that the maize export ban has not stopped exports or significantly reduced inflation and that new programmes such as conditional cash transfers should be considered for reaching the poor and food insecure,” researchers said in their report.

Presenting their findings on the subject last week, researchers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Associates for International Resources and Development (AIRD) and the World Bank, said recommended that export bans should be stopped.

“One of the studies showed that the export ban has come at a cost to long-term development goals, while their short-term benefits are rather limited. In addition, the maize export ban in Tanzania benefits the wealthier urban households the most, while hurting the poorest rural households,” the report noted.

Based on the findings, the researchers offer a number of recommendations to ensure food security without disrupting grain markets, so as to promote the development of these markets, increase economic growth, and reduce poverty.

The workshop held at Kunduchi is a follow up to the SERA Policy Project’s presentation to government of Tanzania officials which took place in Dodoma on June 16, 2012. Both events seek to use the research findings to raise awareness on the impact of the export ban and demonstrate that Tanzania has a unique opportunity to become a major exporter of food crops, especially maize and rice, to the East Africa region and the Horn of Africa.

Sera Policy Project is the policy arm of the Feed the Future Initiative, a US government’s response to global hunger and poverty. It seeks to lift one million Tanzanians out of poverty in the next five years, a recent US embassy statement said.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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