Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Kilimokwanza.org
To stabilize the maize market and ensure food security, the Tanzanian government has initiated the second phase of its maize purchasing program, offering a rate of Tsh 700 (US$2.90) per kilogram. This price significantly surpasses the current market rate of Tsh 500, representing a substantial boost for maize farmers.
The first phase, which started in June 2023 and concluded in December of the same year, witnessed the government disbursing a total of Tsh 194 billion (US$80 million) to maize producers across the country. This initial phase was marked by robust government support and timely payments, laying a strong foundation for the ongoing phase.
This latest phase comes in response to the recent dip in maize prices, which sparked concerns about potential disincentives for maize cultivation among farmers. The government’s proactive stance aims to prevent any reluctance from farmers to plant maize, a staple crop critical to Tanzania’s food security.
Farmers in seven key regions — Makambako, Sumbawanga, Mpanda, Songwe, Babati, Songea, and Dodoma — can now sell their maize at government-operated purchasing centers. This move is expected to significantly help farmers who have been struggling with low market prices.
Insights from the Ground
Hussein M. Bashe, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting maize farmers: “We are launching the second phase of maize purchases to bolster the market and secure food supply. Our offer of Tsh 700 per kilogram stands well above the current market rate, and we strongly encourage farmers to take advantage of this opportunity.”
A farmer from Dodoma expressed his relief and satisfaction: “The government’s decision to initiate this second phase is a lifeline for us. Given the dismal market prices, this intervention was much needed. I am planning to sell my produce to the government without hesitation.”
Analysis and Outlook
The Tanzanian government’s decision to commence the second phase of maize purchases marks a crucial step in safeguarding the interests of maize farmers while ensuring the nation’s food security. The initiative not only offers immediate financial relief to the farmers but also aims to establish a stable and reliable market for their produce. By setting a purchase price higher than the current market rate, the government is effectively cushioning farmers from the volatility of market prices, thereby encouraging continued maize production.
This strategic move is expected to have a ripple effect, potentially leading to more sustainable farming practices and a more robust agricultural sector in Tanzania. The government’s focus on both the economic welfare of its farmers and the overall food security of the nation sets a precedent for agricultural policy in the region.