Ministry unveils new procedure to protect farmers

FARMERS in the country can now breathe a sigh of relief after a procedure for formalising sales, purchases and trades of agricultural produce has been developed.

Under the new procedure, foreign produce buyers will not be able to buy directly from farms anymore, and instead need to buy from registered agricultural produce dealers, the plan will come into force on July 1, this year.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Regional Secretariats, Local Government Authorities (LGAs), and other authorities will work with the Ministry of Agriculture in managing the process.

The new approach, according to a statement from Gerald Mweli, the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, intends to shield farmers and traders from annoyance and fraud that may arise in the trading of agricultural goods.

“It also aims to formalise the Agricultural Crops Sector to facilitate business in accordance with laws and procedures and protect local traders against traders from outside Tanzania who buy produce directly from the farm,” he added.

The traders/buyers must have all required documentation, including the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), certificate of tax clearance, export licence, National Identification Number (NIN) of the company owners, and invoice of prior sales if not a new trader, in accordance with the new procedure.

Each Council, according to Mr Mweli, would identify and publicise centres for the buying and selling of agricultural products, to minimize annoyance to farmers and traders, these centres must be close to farming communities, and be easily reachable also include scales for weighing crops that have been approved by the Weight and Measures Agency (WMA).

“All traders of agricultural products should be registered in the Regions/Councils, ensure that they pay all taxes required to be paid to the councils in accordance with the law, and obtain permits to export crops abroad from the Ministry of Agriculture,” stated Mr Mweli.

Other things to be considered, export permits and phytosanitary certificates will continue to be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture through the Agricultural Trade Management Information System (ATMIS).

Private, cooperative, and public agricultural food storage facilities across the nation will all be electronically registered and given a unique identity number at no cost.

Additionally, each trader of agricultural products in the country will be required to disclose data on the quantity of produce bought, stored, and sold via the system.

Equally, traders must get movement orders from the offices of the District Commissioners before shipping agricultural products within the nation. Traders will be able to move produce across Districts and between Regions with the use of the permit;

“All businessmen are reminded that it is forbidden to use brokers when requesting permits to export agricultural products abroad, but they should apply directly through the ATMIS system or come to the Offices of the Ministry of Agriculture for further assistance,” he noted.

A copy of the applicable contracts must be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and LGAs where the crops are purchased for verification if agricultural produce traders have special contracts to buy crops from farmers.

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