A food crisis in Tanzania

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the price of cooking oil in Tanzania has doubled and the price of maize has risen by 35%. Tanzanians use cooking oil in almost every aspect of their cooking, while maize is the main ingredient in ugali, a stiff porridge which is generally served once or twice a day.

Over half of an average family’s income is spent on food, compared to one-sixth in the UK. And the average income is itself tiny – less than £1,000 per year – in the UK that number is £34,000.

We at Malaika Kids are trying to address this crisis as best we can. When we heard that the Village Manager, James, was considering cutting back on holiday trips so that the children could have enough to eat, we increased the food budget by 13%. This was an across the board increase which applies to all 200 children, and their carers, who we support. So, the budget increased for all those in our Children’s Village, all those in the Reception Home and all those in our Relatives Support Programme. We are totally committed to looking after our children and we are ready to increase the budget further if needs be.

We are so grateful at this difficult time to have the expertise of Julius, our Farm and Maintenance Manager, at the Village. Thanks largely to him the childreneat our own home-produced greens once or twice a day, and seasonal fruits such as guava, pineapples and bananas. Our cassava crop is also very useful as a partial replacement for ugali. Both foods are very high in carbohydrates. If only we could find a more effective way of stopping the little chipmunk like rodents eating a significant portion of the crop!

A fish farm nearby has kindly donated us 150 catfish. They are thriving in our fish tanks and are now big enough to be on the menu once a week.

We also have 100 young chickens that will shortly be supplying us with eggs.

Our land is largely sand and therefore desperately lacking in nutritional content. We do however store water in our large tanks which is invaluable when the dry seasons are upon us. So, we can grow trees, such as cashew, which provide shade for other crops and some tasty snacks. The government guarantees to buy these nuts from us every year.

We do expect further food price increases and will do what is necessary to ensure that our children have enough nutritious food to eat. We now have a record 80 children in our Children’s Village, over 20 in our Reception Home and just under 100 in our Relatives Support Programme. Each child is precious.

In these difficult times, we are more than ever grateful for your support.

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