Originally written by Abdulwakil Saiboko for Tanzania Daily News.

Dodoma — THE National Assembly was informed that the country has surplus food, dismissing the possibility of hunger.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Christopher Chiza, said this, while reading a report on the situation of food availability in the country. “In the last season we have harvested some 13.6 million tonnes out of which 7.6 million tonnes were cereals and non cereals 6 million tonnes.

The actual demand in the country for this year (2012/2013) is 12 million tonnes and thus we have about 1.6 million tonnes in surplus,” he said. He added that from the said data, the country satisfies itself in the food sector by 113 per cent.

Mr Chiza said despite the fact that there is enough food, some areas in the country have shortage and that the government was making efforts to distribute food to those areas.

He named regions with food surplus as, Iringa, Rukwa, Mbeya, Kagera, Mtwara, Kigoma and Ruvuma while those with just enough food as Morogoro, Coast, Mara, Tanga, Lindi, Mwanza, Singida and Dodoma while shortage was in Shinyanga, Tabora, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Dar es Salaam.

The Minister further said that food sector is faced with the challenge of hiked prices where in most areas food was sold at above average prices projected by government.

“The high prices of foodstuff especially cereals is an indication that the supply of food in the markets is poor,” he said. He said that measures being taken to arrest the situation include distributing serials to areas with shortage.