1. Background

1.1. Maize Production

Maize is the main food crop of Tanzania averaging 4.5 million metric tons in 2010/2011 seasons Tanzania is endowed with more than 3.3 million hectares land with suitable climate (medium-high elevation) for the production of specialty maize that commands high prices on the world market.

The current average yield per hectare is between 1.2 ton/ha (MOAFSC statistics 2011/12- see below table).) and 2.0 tons. (FAOSTAT 2012). Tanzania has the capacity to produce 1.3 – 1.5 metric tons per hectare annually if small-scale farmers were to adopt improved farming practices. Maize production has been increasing from year to year due to priority set by the government.(see table below).

Years 2003/4 2004/5 2005/6 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9 2009/10
Production (MT) 3232400 3218540 3423025 3302058 3555833 3326200 4475416
Export in (MT) 0 0 0 50000 50000 15000 44690

Source: Maendeleo ya Kilimo na Ushirika kwa kipindi cha Miaka 50 ya Uhuru kwa Tanzania Bara (1961-2011) and FAOStat 2012/13, Copyright 2011, Agriculture and Trade Opportunities for Tanzania, working paper , Dcember 2011, United Nations University, UNU-WIDER Food Security, IFPRI,www.foodsecurityportal.org/tanzania.

Maize production in Tanzania has been increasing from year to year due to priority has been provided by the government Tanzania is endowed with more than 3,3 million hectares of lands suitable for maize production. Increase in yield are mainly caused by amount of farm inputs, technology and know-how of producer.

Maize is grown all over the country especially in Iringa, Mbeya, Ruvuma, Rukwa, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Kagera (Biharamulo), Morogoro and in Arusha/Manyara regions. 40% of the national maize production comes from 4 regions: Iringa, Mbeya, Ruvuma, Rukwa.

Small-scale farmers are dominating the maize production in Tanzania. They account for roughly 85 percent of total production. Medium and large-scale farms make up for 10

percent and 5 percent respectively. Although large and modern farms exist, agricultural production in Tanzania remains grounded on subsistence farming.

Maize is mostly grown under rain fed cropping systems that can be classified into two categories, namely; the short rains (Vuli) season that starts from September/October to January/February and the long rains (Masika) season from February/March to June/July.

Maize is available in large quantities from March to August and in smaller quantities during August to January.

The marketing of maize is done through private markets as well as through the mixed crop board, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.


1.2 Rice Production

Rice is the second most important food and commercial crop in Tanzania after maize; it is among the major sources of employment, income and food security for Tanzania farming households.

Tanzania is the second largest producer of rice in Southern Africa after Madagascar with production level of 1,1 million tons (FAOSTAT, 2010- see below table). The rice cultivated area by 2012 was 720,000 hectares and the average yield per hectare from 2003-2012 is very low, 1.8 tons per ha.

About 71 % of the rice grown in Tanzania is produced under rain fed conditions; irrigated land presents 29 % of the total with most of it in small village level traditional irrigation systems.

Farmers grow a number of traditional varieties, these varieties have long maturity and yield is affected with irregular rainfall pattern and occurrence of pests which contribute to the yield decline.

Historically, rice has been categorized under the staple food crop rather than commercial/cash crop. However, in recent years with the rapid growth of cities and towns propelled by rapid population growth, the country has experienced enormous increase in rice demand. With negligible percentages of rice imports, most of rice demanded and consumed by the urban population is sourced from the rural rice producing areas that have stagnating production capacities. For this reason, rice has consequently been transformed into commercial crop.

Tanzania is endowed with more than 2 million hectares of lands suitable for rice production. Increase in yield are mainly caused by amount of farm inputs, technology and know how of producer. Rice production in Tanzania has been increasing from year to year due to priority has been provided by the government.


Table 2: Rice production and export yield trends

Years 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Production (MT) 1096920 10556460 1167690 1238560 1341850 1346340 1334000 1104890
Export in (MT) 7825 140 4158 78 1025 523 45  

Rice is mostly grown in Mwanza , Shinyanga (Bariadi & Maswa), Morogoro (Kilombero, Wami- Dakawe ); Tabora (Igunga), Kilimajaro (lower Moshi), Coast (Rufiji, Lindi), Mbeya (Mbarali, Kyela, Kapunga) and Rukwa Regions. 25% of the national rice production comes from 2 regions: Mbeya and Morogoro Rice production in Tanzania is mainly done by small and medium size rice farmers. However there have been a number of large scale mechanized rice schemes in the country (mainly for export). There has been an increase from year to year due to priority has been provided by the government. The marketing of rice is done through private markets as well as through the mixed crop board, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.

2. Potential for Investment in Maize and Rice Sub-Sector. 

2.1 Maize sub-sector

  • Maize investment opportunities are in Southern Corridor that includes Rukwa, Ruvuma, Mbeya and Iringa regions. For Northern Zone, Manyara and Arusha are high potential. In the Lake Zone Tabora and Mwanza regions are high potential for maize production.
  • The potential maize area is estimated at 5 million hectares, but at present only 1.5 million hectares is under production. 

Therefore investing in the maize sub-sector should focus on:

  • Expanding the existing area under maize production by making use of advanced types of farm mechanization, ox plough and other labour saving technology.
  • Intensification of maize production. Yields of maize can grow higher from 1.3 to 3 tons/ha. by improved agronomic practices making use of adequate amount and type of farms inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals and extension services.
  • Better access of farmers to improved seed varieties to enhance productivity at farmer level for maize.
  • Developing sustainable mechanism for providing improved agronomic skills and enhance
  • Farmer’s organization in maize production, processing and marketing.
  • Developing the export potential in countries like Kenya, Somali, Djibouti, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia (during food crises) and also potential markets in Zambia, Malawi and DRC
  • Introduction, operation and maintenance of tractors and other forms of farm mechanization in maize production. Loan repayment is an essential part of the introduction of tractors and other farm mechanization equipment.
  • Agro-processing. Milling of maize into flour for human food consumption; the maize bran can be used for feeding the cattle, pigs and local breeds of poultry.
  • Innovative marketing and business linkages with the private sector actors in maize sector.
  • Enhancing synergies and cooperation with other actors performing facilitation role in the sub-sector.

2.2. Rice sub-sector

  • The potential rice area is estimated at 2-3 million hectares, but at present only 720,000 Ha is under production. To materialize this potential a lot of efforts have to be put in rehabilitation and expansion of the cultivable rice area under irrigation. Many river valleys and deltas are still to be opened up for rice cultivation.

Therefore investing in the rice sub-sector should focus on:

  • Expanding the existing area under rice production by introduction of tractors and other forms of labor savings technology such as ox plough and farm mechanization.
  • Intensification of rice production. By improving agronomic practices such as making use of adequate amount and type of farms inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and extension services, yields of rice can grow higher from 1.9 to 4 tons/ha.
  • Better access of farmers to improved seed varieties to enhance productivity at farmer level for rice.
  • Developing sustainable mechanism for providing improved agronomic skills and enhance
  • Farmer’s organization in rice production, processing and marketing.
  • An export potential for rice could be developed in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and DRC.
  • Introduction or further expansion of farm mechanization tools and equipment in rice production. When tractors are being introduced also attention should be given to operation and maintenance of equipment and loan payment.
  • Agro-processing. Paddy milling produces white rice for human food consumption; The rice can also be milled into rice flour. The rice bran can be used for feeding cattle, pigs and local breeds poultry. Husks can be used for bedding material.
  • Innovative marketing and business linkages with the private sector actors in rice sector.
  • Enhancing synergies and cooperation with other actors performing facilitation role in the sub-sector.


Marketing possibilities

  • A large and secure market exists in Tanzania especially in regions where there is food shortages. Also the increase of the population in Tanzania has created enough demand of the rice and maize crops as staple crop and the price has gone up.
  • There is a large and growing domestic market for rice especially in urban areas.
  • Rice prices are supported both by high international demand as well as the potential for some regions.
  • A potentially large export market is emerging in Africa, especially in neighboring countries.
  • Direct access via investment in good infrastructure (transport, communication and storage)

3. Financing needs for the Maize and Rice sub-sector.

Entrepreneurs and small holder farmer groups may seek financial assistance for:

  • Access of improved seeds and land mechanization (including labour costs) for farming
  • The purchase farm inputs (fertilizer, agro-chemicals, seed)
  • The purchase of mechanization equipment (tractors, power tillers, combined harvester and planter)
  • Purchase means of transport (loaders & trucks) - Installation or expansion of irrigation systems and/or equipment.

4. How can PASS help Farmers in the further expansion/Intensification of the Maize and Rice Sub- Sectors.

  • Through feasibility studies and business plans PASS can assist entrepreneur’s access to bank loans (financial linkages).
  • PASS can assist in management training for entrepreneurs and smallholder groups in the maize and rice sub-sector.
  • Capacity building and formation of farmers groups and set up of SACCOS.
  • Assist with strengthening links between farmer groups and processing plant.
  • Support farmers with inadequate amount of collateral / security for a commercial bank loan.


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