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Arusha comes to the rescue

Tanzania’s NFRA plans to export 1 million tonnes of corn to neighbours facing shortages following droughts

Tanzania’s National Food Reserve Agency has agreed to sell 650,000 tonnes of corn to Zambia over the next eight months as Lusaka counts the costs of the drought caused by El Niño (AC Vol 65 No 12, Debt and drought weigh down economy).

Tanzania’s Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe told reporters late last week that Arusha plans to export 1 million tonnes of corn this year to neighbours facing shortages following the droughts after out producing its own national demand of around 6m tonnes by 2.1m tonnes over the past year.

A request for maize and corn imports has also been made to Uganda.

The drought has led to a major drop in water levels at Zambia’s hydroelectric power plants in response to which President Hakainde Hichilema’s government plans to import electricity from Tanzania.

Hichilema has requested US$900m in drought-related financing from the international community, of which it says it has now received around $500m. However, the droughts were a major contributor to ministers cutting economic growth forecasts for 2024 from 4.8% to 2.3% in May.

Zambia’s state-owned electricity utility Zesco has said that it needs to import power to avert an energy deficit that could affect its copper production. The Hichilema government is also hoping to revive abandoned private sector-led power projects and speed up work on an interconnector with Tanzania.

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