Maize shortages hit Sumbawanga
Soaring maize prices have continued to hit Sumbawanga town and its environs as residents complain of an unprecedented shortage of the commodity in the area for over 30 years.
A random survey by this paper in different outlets has revealed that retail maize prices have sharply increased in the past month due to scarcity of the grain in local markets. The current going price for a 100 kilogramme sack of maize is 48,000/- from 25,000/- per bag in as early as April this year.
However, it has also been alleged that the current shortage which has led to soaring of prices is linked to middlemen having bought the commodity in abundance from farmers in rural areas at throwaway prices and sold the same to neighbouring regions of Shinyanga, Mwanza and Tabora.
“The retail price of maize in Sumbawanga has almost doubled in just a month, I have never seen this happen before since the region was established and to make matters worse, there is a serious shortage of the commodity. Two days ago I went to several outlets which sell maize but I couldn’t get any, not even a kilogramme,” said Jacob Mgimwa, a father of four and resident of Izia area.
Local maize traders interviewed by this paper hinted that most of the maize from the region has been sold to neighbouring regions thus the scarcity and a rise in the retail price of the commodity within just a month. As a result, most traders have abandoned selling the commodity until when it becomes easily available.
A recent official report shows that during the previous harvesting season farmers in the region got surplus of over one million tons of different food crops and there was surplus of 470,000 tons for maize alone.
By PETI SIYAME, Tanzania Daily News
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