Corn, International Agriculture News

Corn production in Tanzania to fall in 2018-19

Corn production in Tanzania is forecast at 5.25 million tonnes in 2018-19, down 2% from 5.35 million tonnes in 2017-18, according to an April 6 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The decline reflects a lack of improved seeds, inefficient fertilizer delivery system, post-harvest loss, pests and diseases, the USDA noted.

The area harvested to corn also is forecast lower, at 4.1 million hectares in 2018-19, which compares with 4.2 million hectares in 2017-18.

Total consumption of corn was left unchanged in 2018-19 at 5.27 million tonnes, the USDA said. According to the agency, white corn is the main staple grain consumed in Tanzania, providing 80% of dietary calories and more than 35% of utilizable protein to the population.

Exports to neighboring countries are forecast to fall by 20%, to 200,000 tonnes from 250,000 tonnes, reflecting difficulty in securing export permits from the government of Tanzania, the USDA noted in the report.

“Tanzania’s export trade is largely opportunistic, often illegal, and depends on many internal and external factors,” the USDA said. “Periodic export bans discourage traders from seeking large export contracts and encourage bribery and illegal trade at border posts or on bush ‘panya’ routes located along Tanzania’s highly permeable borders. The countries receiving Tanzania corn are Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya.”

Imports, meanwhile, are expected to be minimal, in part due to the informal nature of cross-border trade.