DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA — Corn production in Tanzania will increase about 3% to 6.1 million tonnes in the 2023-24 marketing year as farmers respond to higher prices for the grain, but expensive fertilizer and armyworm outbreaks likely will keep it below historically average harvests, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Drought-related production shortfalls in 2022-23 more than doubled corn prices to $51.40 per 100 kilograms (kg) in December 2022, compared to $25 per 100 kg during the same month in 2021. Area harvested is projected to increase from 4 million hectares to 4.2 million as more farmers make the move to corn. Poor yields are expected to hamper 2023-24 output, however.

“Yields are anticipated to be negatively affected by an outbreak of fall armyworm in most corn-producing regions and limited access to subsidized fertilizer,” FAS Post Dar Es Salaam said. “According to industry sources, retail fertilizer prices have increased due to disruptions associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More than 90% of Tanzania’s fertilizer supply is imported.”

Tanzania also is expected to import more wheat, rising from 1.05 million tonnes in 2022-23 to 1.15 million tonnes in 2023-24. Farmers switching to corn in 2023-24 will drop wheat production 9% year-over-year to 68,000 tonnes, the FAS said.

Rice production is projected to increase to 2.4 million tonnes in 2023-24 from 2.2 million tonnes in 2022-23. Farmers have joined new irrigation projects in the Southern Highlands and Northern Regions, placing harvested area at 1.1 million hectares, which is more in line with historic norms after dropping last year.