FARMERS have been advised to sell their produce at a profit as the government will not pressurise them to auction their agro-produce, especially if they have already signed an agreement with processing factories.
The assurance was given recently by Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe during his meeting with Taruchina Cashew Growers Association of Tanzania and a Mtwara-based cashew nut processing firm Akros Limited.
The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the sale of farmers’ cashew nuts to the factory.
Akros Limited has 160 farmers and expects to harvest at least 42 tonnes in their initial stage of their 4,000 hectares this year.
The deputy minister explained that the government’s plan was to ensure all farmers benefitted from their production and further reduce the burden of middlemen.
He noted that the government would put in place appropriate procedures for contract farming to protect the rights of farmers and businesspeople.
Mr Bashe, however, warned that contract farming must be implemented with caution to ensure a win-win situation.
The deputy minister emphasised open auctions for all crops produced outside contract farming, saying the approach was suitable for all farmers.
“Only those with contracts won’t be pushed to have their crops auctioned. However, we want to make it clear that both farmers and the factory must ensure each party benefits in the process,” he noted.
Akros Limited Secretary Victorious Kamuntu told the deputy minister that the association was revolutionising the farming business.
He said more farmers had learnt that individual farming was no longer paying off and that through farmers’ groups more benefits were inevitable.
Mr Kamuntu went on explaining that Akros Limited was committed to liberating all farmers to adopt business strategies that would attract others to do the same.
“We’re setting an example so that others can learn and follow. We want farmers’ groups to become more powerful.
The association wants to avoid selling raw cashew nuts and that has so far been possible with contract farming,” he added.