About 50 million people are at risk of starvation as East African countries are hit by a drought, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as the region received poor rainfall.
Tanzania has opened grain storage facilities in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, and in Juba, South Sudan, to facilitate the sale of surplus food to the affected areas.
Tanzania has 350,000 hectares of arable land to grow maize, paddy, wheat, sorghum, millet, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, tea, coffee, and many others for food and cash crops.
Hussein Bashe, Minister of Agriculture, said Tanzania is also planning to open another facility in Mombasa.
According to Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the situation has resulted in hunger, child malnutrition and livestock deaths.
“Malnutrition remains critical in Turkana, Samburu, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, North Horr, Laisamis and East Pokot.
“It is in serious phase in West Pokot and Tana River, and the counties are projected to remain in the same phase for the next three months,” stated NDMA’s Mid-season Food and Nutrition Security Rapid Assessment Report.
In 2020, Tanzania produced 6.3 million tonnes of maize and is projected to produce 6.7 million tonnes of maize during the 2021/22 harvest season, said Food Security Director in Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Honest Kessy, projects the country would produce 6.7 million tonnes of maize in the 2021/22 harvest season.
The East African region faces a food deficit due to overreliance on rainfed agriculture.