WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Corn is a primary staple crop in Tanzania and is considered a high priority by the Tanzanian government, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service said in March 21 report.  

Small-scale farmers produce 85% of national production while medium and large-scale farmers make up 10% and 5%. Tanzania is implementing the Big Results Now (BRN) program. The goal of BRN is to increase maize production by 100,000 hectares per year beginning in market year 2015-16, reaching 350,000 hectares in commercial production and 330,000 hectares in smallholder production by 2025.

Tanzania’s corn is grown under rain-fed conditions in two seasons, the short rains (Vuli) from October and January, and the long rains (Masika) between February and July. Marketing is done either through private traders or the Crop Board, an agency under the Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives. Post-harvest losses due to poor storage infrastructure and weather variability are significant. Tanzania estimates that in some regions, post-harvest losses account for up to 40% of the total harvest, while nationally the financial loss due to aflatoxin is estimated at $332 million per year. Tanzania periodically limits corn exports to boost its strategic reserves.

Rice is Tanzania’s second most important food crop contributing 2.7% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Tanzanian government data, an estimated 18% of farming households in Tanzania grow rice.
On average, about 30% of rice that is produced in Tanzania is consumed by farm households, while the rest is absorbed into the domestic market. The city of Dar es Salaam is the principal end market for rice and accounts for 60% of the total national consumption. Tanzanians generally prefer locally produced aromatic rice and most consumers purchase unpacked rice from ether small retail stores or farmers’ markets. Demand of rice in Tanzania is forecast to continue growing ahead of local production leading to deficits that will be offset by imports. Currently Tanzania imports rice from China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

Wheat is Tanzania’s fourth most important crop after maize, cassava and rice Approximately 100,000 hectares are currently devoted to wheat production.

The wheat milling industry is dominated by two companies that are based in Dar es Salaam, and supplies wheat products to consumers in all regions of Tanzania.