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TANZANIA: NGO warns of food shortages, impending famine
Nairobi, 27 August 2003 (IRIN) - The Christian Council of Tanzania reported on Tuesday that "a large number of people" were experiencing food shortages caused by poor and erratic rainfall in the 2002-2003 season that affected crop production in most parts of the country.
In a statement from an umbrella organisation, Action by Churches Together (ACT) said the current situation was "estimated to be comparable with that of the 2000/2001 famine".
ACT is a Geneva-based worldwide network of churches and related agencies, of which CCT is a member, providing humanitarian relief.
ACT reported that a June/July vulnerability assessment of some 52 food-insecure districts found that 320,026 households (1.94 million persons) would experience high food insecurity from October 2003 to March 2004. It added that continuing drought would further diminish pastures and water sources and consequently affect livestock production.
ACT said that food shortages predicted to emerge by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in May either before or during the June 2003-May 2004 consumption year had occurred in the districts of Mafia, Iramba, Maswa, Masasi, Mvomero, Chunya, Mbarali and Dodoma.
The government of Tanzania has appealed for 45,000 mt of maize to meet part of the 77,500-mt-food aid requirement identified during the June/July vulnerability assessment, as well as for seeds amounting to 3,200 mt in maize equivalent for use during the October/November 2003 planting season. It also said that donor support would be required in procuring and distributing about 40,000 mt of fertilizer. [See earlier IRIN report, "Government appeals for 45,000 mt of maize
To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, ACT said its member organisations in Tanzania were preparing a joint appeal for food aid and seeds for the most seriously affected of the population.