Insure your crops, Biteko directs tobacco growers

TABORA: DEPUTY Prime Minister and Energy Minister Doto Biteko has urged tobacco farmers to start insuring their crops so that they get compensated, when hit by calamities like El Niño.

Dr Biteko’s plea comes with the background that tobacco growers formed part of the group that hit by the El Niño effects during this season.

He made the plea over the weekend while handing over laptops, donated by Alliance Tobacco Company Limited to five tobacco primary societies commonly referred to as Agricultural Marketing and Cooperative (Amcos) after excelling among the 115 groups.

The Deputy Premier also asked the buyers of the crop to increase their share to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) so that farmers can also be part of the financial success resulting from the crop.

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He handed over the items at the closing ceremony of the International Cooperative Day’s weeklong celebrations held at Nanenane grounds in Tabora municipality.

Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe said the government has decided to give compensation of 13bn/- to various tobacco farmers, whose crops were affected by the El Niño rains in the season of 2023/24.

He said the money would be sent directly to the farmers via their bank accounts after the cooperatives and the Amcos submit the names of the farmers.

In addition, he said from this year, the government will start giving subsidies to tobacco farmers, where the State has allocated a total of 13.3bn/- to buy fertiliser for the crop in the 2024/2025 season, adding that the money will go directly to Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives (TFC) that regulates fertiliser organisations.

On the production of the product, he said the tobacco sector has increased year by year, whereby in 2021/22 a total of 60,000 tonnes were produced and in 2022/23 it shot to a total of 120,000 tonnes.

“The estimated production for the year 2023/24 was 170,000 tonnes, but because there were El Niño disasters, we could not attain that goal by 30 per cent, however, I thank the buyers for adjusting upwards tobacco grades in order to compensate the farmers.

Now the prices are good, because tobacco was bought for an average of two dollars,” he said.

He also instructed that from now on farming contracts between buyers and farmers will be for 3 years, instead of one, noting that after every year the parties will be negotiating on the price from one year to the next.

The Company’s Spokesperson, Advocate John Magoti, said the Alliance One company gives out a total of USD 400m annually as CSR in form of environment, health and education.

“These handouts one of the important watersheds towards enabling our Amcos to convert their old way of doing business to enter the digital world,” he said, adding that it was high time they did away with paper work in their record keeping.

He said that the plan, whose implementation began last year by donating five such computers, would greatly help reduce if not completely eliminate the loss of important documents among various Amcos.

The recipient amcos are Muloku Amcos at Ilolangulu village in Uyui District, Igwisi Amcos in Kaliua District, Unyanyembe Amcos in Sikonge District, the trio being in Tabora region.

Others are Kikubhagulu Amcos in Uvinza District in Kigoma region and Tembo Amcos in Ushetu Division in Kahama District in Shinyanga region.

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