Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Increased Food Security in Tanzania

Thanks to beneficial weather in Tanzania, crop production this year is expected to increase by 600,000 tons from last year for a total of 11.5 million metric tons. However, this is still not a surplus and farmers will not be able to export their crops for a profit. Though the increased production did help the local economy by allowing inflation to fall by 1.6 percent, leaving it at the current rate of 10.7 percent.

Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister, Steven Wassira, explains that while the weather helped with this season’s crops, drought-resistant crops still need to be developed to allow for a surplus. Currently, they are focusing on growing millet, sweet potatoes and cowpeas, which are hardy crops that are successful in the drier regions. The Ministry of Agriculture is also educating farmers on modern crop storage and other profitable techniques. A World Bank Loan of $90 million is currently subsidizing the needs of farmers to increase food security in Tanzania. The United States could help other countries implement programs such as this with the Global Food Security Act.
-Jessica Milstead