PRESIDENT John Magufuli has cautioned farmers against selling their agricultural produce at throwaway prices, to guard against subsequently buying it at higher prices.
The Head of State sounded the warning yesterday in Dodoma during the historic event to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the State House at Chamwino, an event that was attended by past presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete, as well as Mama Maria Nyerere.
President Magufuli was prompted to issue the warning following reports that there were unscrupulous traders who have been luring farmers to sell them crops at lower prices.
“Beware of unscrupulous middlemen from within and outside the country who lure you to sell your produce at lower prices,” he said, adding: “This coming year and the following year might not be very good; don’t sell your hard earned produce at lower prices, because in the future when hunger strikes you will buy it at very high prices,” he noted.
The president told the gathering that it was known that several parts of Africa and the world will experience food shortage because of the lockdown, adding: “It is crucial for us who got a chance to work during the pandemic to preserve our produce, sell them at the right time and when we decide to do so make sure we sell it at much higher prices; don’t make ourselves prone to manipula- tion.”
The Head of State cau- tioned farmers in Shinyanga Region who allowed middle- men to procure paddy before it was harvested.
Dr Magufuli said this year the country had enough food reserve and farmers have harvested a lot of produce, stressing that it was crucial to preserve it for future use rather than selling everything.
The president further advised farmers to consider cultivating drought resistant crops such as potatoes and sorghum to sustain them dur- ing famine as well as selling them.
“I am glad that the Gogo people have started to change as this year they have cultivated several crops; I urge you to continue to do the same as there is no free food ….. I must tell you the truth; we cannot be the capital city where its people beg for food,” said Dr Magufuli.
The president has all along been calling upon Tanzanian farmers to invest more efforts in agricultural activi- ties to make them self sufficient in food supply.
Former prime minister in the second phase government, Mr John Malecela, said those who worked hard in Dodoma will never go hungry but a few lazy ones might be in trouble.