AFRICA/TANZANIA - Drought: Bishops' warning but the government minimizes

Thursday, 26 January 2017 food safety  

Dar es Salaam (Agenzia Fides) - "I call for intense prayers to be held across the country. This is so that God, who protected the sons of Israel in their 40-year journey to the promised land, may look upon us with mercy and kindness", says His Exc. Mgr. Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa, Bishop of Iringa and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Tanzania, in a pastoral letter in which he expresses the Bishops' concern for the severe drought that has hit the country.
"It is the rainy and farming season in most parts of the Country but we are witnessing a weather pattern that is different from what we are used to as there has been no rain to allow agricultural production to continue", he says in the letter sent to Fides.
Also other religions, like the Lutheran and Muslim, have launched similar alarms about the consequences of the drought. One concern, however, is not shared by the government. President John Magufuli argues that a local businessman is stirring alarmism about a possible famine to force the government to eliminate taxes on the 25,000 tons of corn imported from abroad. "I will not allow the maize into the Country without the due taxes being paid", said the President, who minimized the news regarding the death due to hunger and thirst of thousands of head of cattle. The government also reiterated that Tanzania has sufficient food reserves to meet a possible shortfall in agricultural production. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2017)


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