- Published on Friday, 30 March 2012 02:39
- Written by FARAJA MGWABATI in Mtwara
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ABOUT 150 primary co-operative societies out of 181 on Thursday submitted their debt status to the office of Mtwara Regional Commissioner for verification before farmers are paid their dues.
The Acting Regional Co-operative Advisor, Mr John Henjewele, said that his office would make sure that farmers' debts were fully settled as directed by the government. "We expect more co-operatives to submit their status so that we can verify and forward them to CRDB Bank and NMB for approval," Mr Henjewele said.
He said after approval by the banks the details would be forwarded to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) for final endorsement before the two banks are given greenlight to extend loans to the indebted co-operatives.
The co-operatives owe farmers 64.7bn/- after collecting more than 157,000 tonnes of cashew nut. Out of the collected amount the co-operatives issued 70 per cent as first payment for 146,299,842 tonnes, while nothing was paid to farmers for 11,256,435 tonnes all since October, last year.
The government recently directed the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to extend loans to co-operatives under the Export Guarantee scheme. There are over 85,000 tonnes of cashew nut stranded in warehouses of co-operatives for lack of buyers.
The buyers are reportedly reluctant to buy cashew nut on grounds that prices in the world market have dropped due to saturation of the commodity. A 'Daily News' survey revealed that many warehouses in Mtwara and Mikindani were either closed or idle with no business transactions going on.
However, Mr Henjewele said the priority at the moment was to pay farmers and other matters will follow. "My friend cashew nut business is a war. As we are 'fighting' to pay farmers there are people who are not happy because they want us to go back to the old system of using traders directly,' he said.
He said if the warehouse receipt system is scrapped traders will pay a farmer 200/- per kg compared to 1,200/- the farmer is fetching under current system.