The Maize Value Chain in Tanzania

Image: Flickr, Harvest Plus
Image: Flickr, Harvest Plus


Field work, workshop and interview-based methodology, working with government and private sector to better understand the maize industry and make recommendations towards the National Strategy for the Maize Industry.

Research Objective

Consolidation of value chain analysis within the maize sector in Tanzania to give input to the National Strategy for the Maize Industry.


  • Maize is the staple food for the majority of Tanzanians. Most maize is produced by small-scale farmers and is usually grown under low input, rain-fed conditions. It is both a subsistence and a cash crop. The maize value chain is fragmented and poorly coordinated. There are many layers and inefficient connections between producers and consumers. Trust, reliable information systems and the benefits of economies of scale are not well established. The result is considerable uncertainty, which discourages investment by both resource-poor, risk-averse small-scale farmers and commercial investors.
  • It is expected that domestic and regional demand will significantly grow in the coming years, with additional demand for yellow maize for stock feed.
  • Once the right incentives and a positive business environment are in place there is a huge opportunity to develop the maize sub-sector using available technology.
  • Current constraints include uncertain land tenure, little access to affordable finance, poor rural infrastructure, periodic bans on cereal exports, corruption, local taxes on farm production, limited availability of improved seed, weak business skills and inadequate institutional and technical capacity. Many constraints are now being tackled on a sector-wide level.

Policy Recommendations

  • A new, credible and widely accepted National Maize Development Strategy must be created to lay the foundation for future partnerships and well-coordinated progress.
  • This should be prepared jointly by both private and public sector actors, and ensure that well-meaning interventions from the Government, donors and international foundations do not stifle private sector initiative in the field.
  • At the same time, national and international private sector actors and their organizations must become better organized and more capable of pushing for change.
  • New domestic and export markets also need to be developed, and environmentally friendly ‘Green Growth’ options encouraged.
2 Jun 2016




Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)






Private Sector-Led Agricultural Growth