DAR ES SALAAM, The Tanzanian government said Monday it had lifted a ban on maize exports to the East African Community (EAC) and other African countries following an outcry from farmers amid surplus harvests.
Charles Tizeba, Minister for Agriculture, directed regional and district executives to put in place proper mechanisms to ensure the exports were done legally.
"Let farmers sell maize to markets of their choices, but they will have to seek permits from the ministry and approval from regional leaders," he told the National Assembly in Dodoma.
He said Members of Parliament have since the beginning of the ongoing parliamentary meetings complained about the huge grain stocks following bumper harvests.
The government has for a long period sustained the ban on export of maize on grounds including shortage of food in some parts of the country as well as a deliberate move to bring the inflation down.
Tizeba also said purchasing of maize through National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) will resume soon as the government has already mobilized funds for the exercise.
"Our collected data showed that there is huge maize stock in farmer's hand. The past farming season was a blessing as food production was over 123 percent", said Tizeba.
In June, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told the Parliament the ban on maize exports was there to stay as spot checks showed a number of regions within the country were facing food shortages.
Majaliwa said that various countries in the EAC experienced poor harvests and requested for maize from Tanzania including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.