PM directs use of local currency in tobacco trading

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THE government has abolished the use of foreign currency in the sale of the tobacco crop in the country, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa (pictured) announced over the weekend.

The PM made the revelation while addressing public rallies at different venues in Tabora region.

He said the crop should be traded in Tanzanian currency like other crops. “Why is tobacco crop being sold in foreign currency while others are not?,” he questioned, and mentioned crops such as cashew-nuts, cotton, tea and coffee as among the crops being sold in Tanzanian shillings.

He expressed the need for tobacco companies to plan their sales through foreign exchange but should ensure the crop is sold using the country’s currency when being traded.

Mr Majaliwa said that the sale of tobacco through foreign currency has led to farmers earning too little in return, leaving them wallowing in poverty. He directed officials in all municipalities in Tabora to manage farming of the crop in order to help in transforming its value for the benefit of the farmers.

“Agricultural and cooperative officials have the obligation to supervise the farming of tobacco instead of leaving it under the control of officials from the cooperatives.

“You (agricultural officials) have been ignorant for a long time… leaving the management of the crop under the control of cooperative officials… I want you to change this habit and be close to the farmers and help them in transforming the farming of the crop,” he noted.

He stressed the need for the agricultural officials to ensure the farmers get out of input loaning system and instead encourage them to save for the next farming season. He said the farmers undergo high interest rates when borrowing funds for inputs and in the end fail to benefit.

The Premier who is in the region (Tabora) for an official tour also said that the government has planned to revive the top five earners of foreign exchange, including cashewnuts, cotton, coffee and tobacco.

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