RECORD HARVEST

In August the Tanzanian press reported enthusiastically a record harvest, after a succession of very difficult years. The Daily News commented: ‘ Last week the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania said that our country may not import food this year. Reports on our farming performance in the past season indicate that our main problem now is where to keep all the food we have grown. The people responded so enthusiastically to the Tanu call for increased agriculture we are now satisfied with the mere sight of the food in the fields. A glance at yesterday’s newspaper reports gives us an idea of how much food we can expect at the end of the harvest this year … The National Milling Corporation has reported a tremendous flood of food crops at selling points. And that is two months before the usual time of crop sales! The corporation has already bought thousands of bags of produce. And an official of the Ministry of Agriculture gave these figures for the expected tonnage this year; maize over 120,000; wheat 20,000; paddy over 50,000; millet 10,000; beans 10,000 and sorghum 6,000. Let us make this kind of farming part of our life so that never again are we victims of hunger.’

The success was not achieved without some costs, however. As the Daily News also reported in August, ‘Cotton production in Mwanza this year will drop by almost half of last year’s output … This is mainly because most of the emphasis was placed on the production of food crops to avert famine which was threatening the nation.’ Lawi Sijaona, who announced this shortfall said that ‘cotton was very important to the country’s economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings’. Clearly it is hard to get the balance between food and cash crop production right. Speaking in Upare in August, Nyerere ‘warned that not the whole country would have a bumper harvest to last the nation … because some areas had not sufficient rains despite the fact that they had cultivated enough acerage …. “It is imperative that we double our efforts and apply proper planning and more skill during this season”, he said. Pointing out that the foreign reserve position of the country had not improved, Mwalimu said the nation had only about Shs. 260 million in foreign reserves, “A figure we cannot be proud of”.’

At the end of August the operating budgets of many government financed institutions, including hospitals and the university, were sharply reduced

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