Tanzania officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.
Poor nutrition remains a persistent problem within Tanzania and varies hugely throughout the country's regions. USAID reports that 16% of children are underweight and 34% experience stunted growth as a result of malnutrition. 10 regions house 58% of children suffering from stunted growth while 50% of acutely malnourished children can be found in 5 regions.
Over a 5-year period, the Mara district of Tanzania saw a 15% reduction in stunting in children under 5 years old, falling from 46% to 31% in 2005 and 2010 respectively. Dodoma, on the other hand saw a 7% increase in the prevalence of stunting in this age group, rising from 50% in 2005 to 57% in 2010. Overall availability of food does not necessarily contribute to overall stunting figures. Iringa, Mbeya and Rukwa regions, where overall availability of food is considered acceptable still experience stunting incidences in excess of 50%. In some areas where food shortages are common such as in the Tabora and Singida regions, stunting incidences remain comparatively less than those seen in Iringa, Mbeya and Rukwa.
The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre attributes these discrepancies to variance in maternal malnutrition, poor infant feeding practices, hygiene practices and poor healthcare services. Periods of drought can have significant impacts on the production of crops in Tanzania. Drought in East Africa has resulted in massive increases in the prices of food staples such as maize and sorghum, crops crucial to the nutrition of the majority of Tanzania's population. From 2015 to 2017, the price of maize when bought wholesale has more than doubled from 400 Shillings per kilogram to 1253 Shillings per kilogram respectively.
Tanzania remains heavily agricultural, with 80% of the total population engaging in subsistence farming. Rural areas are subjected to increased food shortages in comparison to urbanised areas, with a survey carried out within the country in 2017 finding 84% of people in rural areas suffering food shortages over a 3-month period compared to 64% of residents in cities. This disparity between rural and city nutrition can be attributed to various factors; increased nutritional needs due to manual labour, more limited access to food as a result of poor infrastructure, high-susceptibility to the damaging effects of nature and the "Agricultural Productivity Gap". The Agricultural Productivity Gap postulates that "value added per worker" is often much lower within the agricultural sector than that found within non-agricultural sectors. Furthermore, allocation of labour within the agricultural sector is largely allocated ineffectively
Poor nutrition remains a persistent problem within Tanzania and varies hugely throughout the country's regions.