Thursday, 13 October 2011


DAR ES SALAAM, Oct 12 (NNN-DAILY NEWS) -- President Jakaya Kikwete has directed government institutions to allow Tanzanian traders to export surplus food to neighbouring countries, some of which are facing a drought and food shortages.

He also sanctioned yesterday the sale of food to the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), stressing, however, that there remained enough stocks in Tanzania.

The Head of State issued the directives during a meeting in the Tanzanian capital Dar-Es-Salaam with ministers and officials in charge of the availability, sale and distribution of foodstuffs.

"There is need to device a system for our traders to sell surplus food in a transparent manner to neighbouring countries which are experiencing difficulties," he said. "The WFP should also be supplied with food as long as there is assurance of sufficient stock in our reserves."

The local Daily News reported that Among those at the meeting were Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and Co-operatives Professor. Jumanne Maghembe, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Mustafa Mkulo and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office in charge of Policy, Co-ordination and Parliamentary Affairs William Lukuvi.

Others included the Permanent Secretaries in the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives and officials of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).

The Tanzanian President also urged government institutions to ensure surplus food in some regions was transported to urban areas in a bid to contain soaring prices, to enable the poor to buy food at affordable prices.

"It is high time you increased the pace of buying food, particularly maize, from farmers. This will enable them have room for crops which would be harvested this season. It also means that food will not be destroyed by ongoing rains in some of these areas," the Head of State noted.

He stressed that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure surplus food in rural areas was transported to markets in urban areas to curb the spiralling cost of living. "It is our responsibility to suppress prices by supplying enough food in urban areas, to cater for a high demand among urban dwellers, particularly the poor," he explained.

President Kikwete said there was extra food remaining with farmers countrywide, which he said should be bought and stored at the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) warehouses.

Noting that the Mara and Shinyanga regions were facing a food shortage, the president urged officials to ensure that the regions had enough supplies. "I am aware that food is being supplied to the regions but we should speed up the exercise as there is surplus in some parts of the country," he added.

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