THE government has released 20bn/- it owes cashew nut farmers and related service providers for the raw cashew nuts (RCN) supplied in the 2018/19 trading season.
Speaking to Matogoro Agriculture Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) and resident of Tandahimba here yesterday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said that President John Magufuli has released the money for Tandahimba, Masasi, Mtwara and Kibiti farmers, who were previously paid part of the money and those who had not been paid.
However, he urged the farmers to mobilise and prepare for next crop trading season that starts from September to December, every year.
According to Mr Majaliwa, the authority’s verification conducted in Kibiti, Rufiji, Mkuranga, Ruangwa, Liwale, Lindi, Tunduru and other districts in Mtwara region, showed that farmers and other service providers were supposed to be paid what the State owes them.
He said Tandahimba farmers were leading the list with 9bn/- Masasi (2.3bn/-), and Mtwara rural (884m/-). The list included Lindi and Coast regions, whose service providers citing them as transporters would be paid 3.3bn/-
During the 2018/19 season, the government announced to buy all cashews nuts from farmers, after some buyers announced to them a low price.
Expounding, the Premier said the traders displayed a low price of 1500/- instead of 3,000/- per kilograme, prompting the government to intervene.
In a related development, yesterday Mr Majaliwa presided over a handover of over 9bn/- cheque by Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank(TADB) Managing Director, Mr Japhet Justine to Mtwara Regional Commissioner (RC), Gelasius Byakanwa.
In the course, Mr Byakanwa also handed the cheque to the leaders of Tandahimba and Newala districts’ Matogoro AMCOS.
Reinforcing, the Premier encouraged the AMCOS to invest in cashew nut processing machines, which would guarantee them added value in the crop trade.
He said one kilogram of unprocessed cashew nut is purchased at 2400/-, whereas three kilogram produce one kilogram of processed cashew nut and sells at 25,000/-.
“This means we sell three kilogram of unprocessed cashews nuts, but the same amount when processed is sold at 25,000/-, hence, we must now focus on buying machines that would add value to our cashew nuts. I urge AMCOS to purchase 100 machines from SIDO,” he said.
On the new cashew nut indicative price, the Prime asked the AMCOS management to crosscheck costs that have incurred by the farmers, before reaching a consensus of announcing a new indicative price.
“All AMCOS must analyze costs and submit the report to my office, you should involve the Minister for Agriculture in this process, and this must be done before the start of the trading season in September,” he directed.
Earlier, Mtwara Regional CCM Chairman, Mr Yusuph Nanila asked the Premier to clarify on when cashew nut farmers in the region would be paid their money.