The World Food Program (WFP), the food-assistance branch of the United Nations, has recently bought 36,000 tons of maize for a value of about $ 9 million from the Tanzanian National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for refugees in the western Kigoma region of the country.
The maize is part of 160,000 tons of food purchased by the WFP in Tanzania in 2018.
The WFP Country Representative for Tanzania, Michael Danford, noted that due to the good relationship between Tanzania and the WFP of the last 40 years, in 2017 the organization has decided to be the largest buyer of food products in the country to assist refugees and neighboring countries with food shortages, and it intends to continue to increase the amount of food that will be purchased from Tanzania.
Tanzanian President Hon. John Magufuli congratulated the WFP for its decision to buy food from Tanzania to help refugees and troubled countries and asked NFRA to provide 45,000 tons of maize the WFP asked to purchase so that the money would be used to buy maize from other farmers.
Maize is Tanzania’s most important cereal crop in terms of food security. The country’s maize production amounted to 6m t in 2015, compared to 4.7m t in 2010, representing an increase of 28%.
According to recent comments of Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga, maize production was 6,148,699 tonnes in FY 2015/2016 season, 6,680,758 tonnes in FY 2016/2017, and 6,273,150 tonnes in FY 2017/2018.
He underlined that Tanzania’s current total demand for maize currently stands at 5,462,390 tonnes, with a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.
However, on November 2018, the Ministry of Agricultural of Tanzania has instructed the Tanzania Institute for Agricultural Research (TARI) to terminate Genetic Modified Organism-GMOs at its research centers, de-facto undermining the country’s efforts to advance in biotechnology.