PRESIDENT John Magufuli on Friday directed the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders such as the police, Tanzania National Road Agency, Tanzania Bureau of Standards, Tanzania Revenue Authority and others to remove barriers and iron out bureaucracy in the purchase and transportation of crops.
The President ordered that the bottlenecks be removed so that farmers in the country could benefit from their sweat. He gave the order while witnessing the signing of a contract between the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) and World Food Programme (WFP) in which the latter will purchase 36,000 tonnes of maize worth 21bn/-.
The call by the President will go a long way in helping farmers benefit from their produce. For a long time, farmers have been failing to get what they deserve because of many factors, among them being fleeced by the so called traders, who persuade the hapless farmers to sell their crop for a song. On the other hand, the failure by farmers to secure reliable markets has been one of the setbacks.
And, the deal between WFP and NFRA is one of the answers to farmers’ problems and will go a long way in making sure that farmers will get a reliable market.
It is good that the President went on to order NFRA to use the money they get from the deal to go and purchase more crops from farmers and not to wait for funds from the government.
This means that with ready cash, and depleted stocks, NFRA will approach farmers to buy more crops from them.
This will also help farmers avoid unnecessary losses such as post harvesting losses they suffer when they store their crops while waiting to get market.
Bottlenecks have been a thorn in the flesh for farmers as the whole process of selling and transporting the crops was hogged by complications and bureaucracy that added misery on farmers.
It is vital that all the concerned stakeholders heed to the call of President Magufuli and do away with anything that derails the purchase of crops from farmers.
They should also make sure that farmers benefit from the transactions. All those who are bent on conning farmers should be brought to book.
Farmers on the other hand should take advantage of the deal and plant more crops so that they increase their income and at the same time meet demand.
And, with bottlenecks removed, the ball is in farmers’ court; they should work hard to produce more and improve their lives.