Tanzania's President John Magufuli yesterday urged farmers in the country to increase food production in order to cater to the food scarcity in the world post-pandemic.
Magufuli, while addressing a gathering in Bukoba, northwest of Tanzania, said he was foreseeing a situation where food will be scarce later in the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is a possibility of famine this year across the world because many people are under lockdown due to the pandemic. But this should not discourage us because even if they are in lockdown, they still need food. We should grow crops and sell to them,” he said.
#ZIARAYAJPMKAGERA Mwaka huu kuna uwezekano wa kuwa na njaa kubwa duniani kwa sababu watu wengi wamefungiwa ndani kutokana na Corona lakini hili sisi lisitukatishe tamaa kwa sababu hata kama wamefungiwa bado wanahitaji vyakula hivyo, sisi tulime mazao ambayo tutawapelekea kuwauzia
— Msemaji Mkuu wa Serikali (@TZMsemajiMkuu) January 18, 2021
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Magufuli has on several occasions been criticised for how he downplayed coronavirus in his county.
He declared the country coronavirus-free in June last year, thanking the citizens for their prayers.
"The corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God," Magufuli told worshippers in a church in Dodoma.
This was months after he criticized Covid-19 test kits used in Tanzania claiming they were faulty because they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and pawpaw.
He said that that meant it was likely that some people were being tested positive when in fact they were not infected by the coronavirus.
The government then stopped publishing data on the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
On 29 April, the last day official data was released, there were 509 confirmed cases and 21 deaths in Tanzania.