Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) will be buying nearly 30,000 tonnes of maize from Karatu District in response to a government’s directive requiring the NCAA to provide food to the Maasai living within the conservation area free of charge.
Mr Francis Kone, the Extension and Food Security officer at NCAA, said on Monday that the authority has started distributing the initial 7,000 tonnes of relief maize to 87,000 residents as ordered by Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda who visited the area last week.
“After clearing the maize stock for the initial 7,000 tonnes, we intend to buy more grain from Karatu, starting with 29,000 tonnes. This new supply will be distributed among local residents in three phases,” said Mr Kone.
He also said that the first grain consignment saw each of the 20,000 households getting 16 kilos of maize.
The Public Relations Officer with NCAA, Mr Nixon Nyange, said that the initial food distribution is separate from the expected 200,000 gunny bags of maize that the prime minister had promised to give to the residents on annual basis at the rate of 10 bags per family per year.
The premier directed that all residents of Ngorongoro Division, which lies in Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), should be getting free food due to the fact that conservation regulations did not permit farming and other destructive human activities to be conducted within the NCAA.
The Chairman of the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council, Mr Metui Ole Shaudo, who was present during the inaugural food distributing exercise in his Olbalbal Ward, hailed the prime minister’s decision, saying that Ngorongoro people have always trusted the government.
“The Maasai never used to ask for food aid in the past because their cattle were sufficient. But recent drought spells have decimated many of their livestock and since they cannot farm and many have no income generating ventures, the residents had to ask for help,” he said.
Mama Nanyuagisho Ole Koringo said that previously many people in the area relied on wild berries for survival and even though the maize distribution would help them for a while, the residents needed more than grain.
“Grain must be eaten with vegetables and cooking oil,” she said.
By MARC NKWAME, Tanzania Daily News