Tanzania nears reaching monthly food stock target

DODOMA: TANZANIA is close to reaching its ambitious goal of reserving 400,000 tonnes of food monthly after increasing funds for the initiative.

The National Food Reserves Authority stocks 337 ,67 2 tonnes of food at the end of last month was almost ten years high.

The Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe told the House yesterday when moving his budget that in this fiscal year, 14bn/- plus some funds from NFRA were allocated for beefing up food reserves. “… The Treasury also gave a green light to secure funds from even banks to beef up the reserves,” Mr Bashe said while tabling the 2024/25 budget of 1.248 tri/-.

Also Read: Food sufficiency tops agenda as Bashe tables 1.25tri/-spending plan

He said the target is to reach 500,000 tonnes and currently the government is building the NFRA capacity to stock and purchase more grains. However, reaching the target may pose challenges due to various hurdles, including floods that have compelled the government to assist the affected individuals.

The Minister said up to last month, 19 councils including Rufiji, Kisarawe, Kilosa, and Hanang’, are among areas experiencing food shortages at different times, releasing 48 2 tonnes.

According to the Bank of Tanzania’s latest monthly economic review, the current stock is the highest since June 2015.

However, the largest monthly stock in the history of the country was 466,58 3 tonnes recorded in December 2014 and the lowest was 26,8 02 tonnes in May 2013.

Dr Hildebrand Shayo, economist and cum-investment banker, told the ‘Daily News’ that a large food reserve is a good sign for economic stability since it assists in containing inflation.

“Food basket has heavy weight on calculating the consumer price index, the higher the stock the better the stability of commodities prices,” Dr Shayo said.

Bank of Tanzania data showed that the monthly food stock was on the increasing trend in the last three years leaping from 38 ,053 tonnes in April 2020 to 337 ,67 2 tonnes in April.

The University of Dar es Salaam, Environmental Scientist and Economist, Dr Robert Katikilo, said the country should also have a good sound policy for enhancing food reserves and security.

“We also need to have sound policies to ensure food and agricultural sustainability plus its value addition chain in the country,” said Dr Katikilo.

In the next fiscal year, the government envisages increasing NFRA’s ability to buy crops of farmers to push up food reserves.

In 2024/2025 NFRA will buy 1,150,000 tonnes of grain centering on strengthening food security in the country and selling excess to neighbouring countries and beyond subjected to approval from the relevant authorities.

Additionally, the Minister said the government is investing heavily in storage infrastructure to enable NFRA to achieve a tonnage storage capacity of 3,000,000 by 2030.

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