Church in Tanzania sounds alarm over threat of famine

23 October 2015


Arid: a young Maasai man in a cornfield in his home village of Handeni, Tanzania, in August

Arid: a young Maasai man in a cornfield in his home village of Handeni, Tanzania, in August

A FAMINE is looming in central Tanzania after a severe drought affected this year’s harvest.

The Anglican Church of Tanzania is trying to prepare for the crisis by raising funds to buy food stocks to store for those who will be in the greatest need.

The Church’s Provincial Secretary, Canon Johnson Chinyong’ole, said that, in some regions, the price of maize has tripled, owing to the drought, and the most vulnerable were unable to buy food for their households or their animals.

The Church plans to equip people for the coming shortages by buying stocks of staple crops and legumes from the harvests in the south, so that those at most risk of severe hunger in January and February can be supported. “The Church needs to be a saving hand to the most needy; they know who to target,” Canon Chinyong’ole said.

He also plans to set up a seed bank, to ensure that poorer farmers have seeds to plant when the rains come in December.

Poor rainfall has also affected crop harvests in northern Ethiopia and eastern Sudan, and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network is warning that four million people in the region are facing food insecurity.

A new framework on food security has been agreed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to help move from relieving short-term hunger to finding longer-term solutions. 

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