Tanzania: Corn Makes up 16% Of Household Food Expenses


Jul 13, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Tanzania’s MY 2023/24 Corn production is expected to increase by 3 percent to 6.1 million metric tons (MT) as farmers respond to high prices and increase acreage. Drought-related production shortfalls in MY 2022/23 have prompted Corn prices to more than double to $51.4 per 100 kilograms (kg) in December 2022, compared to $25 per 100 kg during the same month in 2021. The area harvested is projected to increase from 4 million hectares to 4.2 million as farmers return to Corn production due to elevated Corn prices.

MY 2023/24 production is anticipated to remain below historical levels due to poor yields. Yields are anticipated to be negatively affected by a fall armyworm outbreak in most Corn-producing regions and limited access to subsidized fertilizer. According to industry sources, retail fertilizer prices have increased due to disruptions associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Average market prices for a 50 kg bag of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) range from $53 to $55, up roughly 45 percent from prevailing prices in 2021.

Urea prices have increased roughly 57 percent from 2021 to $51 per bag. While the Government of Tanzania (GoT) has allocated $64 million to provide fertilizer at a subsidized price, delivery of subsidized fertilizer to farmers has historically faced distribution challenges. Subsidized fertilizer is frequently kept in towns far from farmers’ fields or arrives too late in the season to improve productivity. Generally, fertilizer is underused in Tanzania, with application rates equal to 28 to 40 percent of soil requirements. More than 90 percent of Tanzania’s fertilizer supply is imported.

Tanzania’s main agroecological zone for Corn production lies 500 and 1,500 meters above sea level. The Southern Highlands and Lake Regions account for 26 and 25 percent of Tanzania’s Corn-producing area, respectively. These areas are followed by the Eastern Region (13 percent), Northern Region (12 percent), Western Region (10 percent), Southern Region (8 percent), and Central Region (6 percent).

MY 2022/23 production is estimated at 5.9 million MT, down 15 percent from the previous year due to drought conditions throughout Tanzania’s Corn-growing regions and reduced area harvested. According to local sources, many Corn farmers switched to crops such as beans, sunflowers, and cassava following delayed rainfall in the planting season. MY 2022/23 yields were also negatively affected by the 2021 removal of government-mandated price ceilings for fertilizer, which caused prices to nearly double compared to the maximum allowed under the ceiling program.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Corn planting usually starts in early April and lasts 2-3 weeks, depending on weather conditions. MY 2023/2024 Corn is projected to be planted on 202,000 HA, with an expected production of 900,000 MT (average yield of 4,5 MT/HA). According to Ministry of Agriculture officials, the 2023 Corn area will be similar to or less than last year’s crop because Corn is harvested in September/October and, therefore, at a significantly higher risk of summer drought. BiH has approximately 1.6 million hectares of land suitable for cultivation. 

In a good year, Corn yields can reach 6-7 MT/HA on average in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but weather conditions can significantly affect it. BiH already had two consecutive arid summers (2021 and 2022), and less than 5 percent of the cultivated land was irrigated. Corn planting may also be affected by a drop in the price of mercantile Corn and reportedly reduced livestock funds. There has been a significant increase in the price of Corn seeds, which can be an additional 20-40 percent depending on the hybrid type.

The widespread 2022 drought resulted in a substantial reduction in the production of Corn seeds, resulting in a deficit of the best seeds. However, the overall number of seeds offered on the market should be sufficient. The Government subsidizes 15 percent of the retail price for domestic hybrid Corn seeds.
Unlike in spring 2022, when the price of mineral fertilizers (especially nitrogen) was rising, and stocks were low, the supply of fertilizers has stabilized. Prices this year are 10-35 percent lower, with a further downward trend expected (except for NPK, which is up by five percent). Turkey, Croatia, and Serbia supplied most of the imported fertilizer in 2022. BiH’s single producer of fertilizer, GIKIL, in Lukavac, closed in 2021 due to a lack of environmental permits. The BiH government lifted a 5 percent import duty for 100,000MT of fertilizer in CY 2022 and 370,00 MT in CY 2023.

In MY 2022/2023, Corn was harvested on 135,000 HA, and production totaled only 552,300 MT (average yield of 4.1 MT/ha). This was a 38 percent decrease in production compared to the previous year when production totaled 893,124 MT (average yield of 4.5 MT/ha). The main reasons were low fertilizer usage, unfavorable weather conditions (unusually hot temperatures in June and July 2022, and drought). BiH requires 1.1 MMT of Corn per year, used mainly for feed. Corn stocks are estimated at 150,000 MT.

Corn Consumption in Tanzania

MY 2023/24 food, seed, and industrial (FSI) consumption is forecast to increase 2 percent to 5.4 million MT due to a slight increase in domestic production and area harvested. High prices and below-normal production levels will likely turn consumers toward other food sources, such as bananas, cassava, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, as lower-cost alternatives.

Corn is Tanzania’s most important food staple, providing over 80 percent of dietary calories and 35 percent of protein consumption. On average, Corn purchases account for 16 percent of household food expenditures, but this figure varies dramatically by region. Post forecasts MY 2023/24 feed and residual consumption will decrease to 500,000 MT due to high prices and reduced demand in the feed sector. In November 2022, Tanzania revoked import permits for chicken parent stock, decreasing the supply of day-old chicks for Tanzania poultry producers. This constraint has reduced the output of Tanzania’s poultry sector, reducing demand for feed Corn.

Corn is a crucial ingredient for poultry feed, with roughly 70 percent of feed rations utilizing Corn as the primary energy ingredient. Historically, the feed sector has faced competition from human consumption for available Corn supplies.

Other sources: USDA

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