Estimates and Crop Assessment Division
March 24, 2003
Tanzania Agricultural Seasons
Tanzania cropping patterns fall within seven distinct agro-climatic zones, which can broadly lumped into two major rainfall regimes, unimodal and bimodal. A transition zone also coexists between these two rainfall regimes, and the transition zone is in the arid central part of the country.
1. The unimodal rainfall regime occurs in the southern and western parts of the country, and it is from December-April, with planting around November and harvesting taking place from June to July. The unimodal seasonal rains are locally referred to as the musumi rains, but some regions also refer to these rains as the masika long rains.
2. The bimodal rainfall regime occurs in the northern, eastern, and northern coast of the country, with short vuli rains from October-December and long masika rains from March-May. The vuli rains provide a minor cropping season with planting around November and harvesting in late January/February, while the masika rains provide the main cropping season in the bimodal areas with planting in late February/March and harvesting in July/August.
The vuli season contributes about 15 percent of the national cereal production, and vuli maize production is typically reported from Mara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Morogoro, Mbeya, Coast, Kagera, Kigoma, and Mwana regions.
Annual rainfall varies from 200-mm to 1000-mm over most parts of the country. Higher rainfalls are recorded over the highlands to the northeastern and southwestern parts of the country. Central Tanzania is a semi-arid region with some parts receiving annual rainfall less than 400-mm.