The government will have bought all raw cashew nuts from farmers by Friday next week, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa (pictured) has said.
He said in Parliament during an impromptu question to the Prime Minister’s session yesterday that the government had allocated 700bn/- that would be used to buy all cashew nuts from farmers.
The premier was responding to questions from Zubeir Kuchauka (Liwale, CCM) and Hamidu Babali (Mchinga, CUF), who wanted clarification on reports of price differences the farmers were being paid and the ongoing verification exercise of cashews farmers.
The Liwale MP had said many farmers were yet to be paid despite completion of a verification exercise while others were being paid lower prices of up to 2,600/- against President John Magufuli’s directives that a kilogramme of cashew nuts be purchased by the government at 3,300/-
In his response, Mr Majaliwa said so far, the government had spent 500bn/- in buying cashew nuts from all farmers in Ruvuma, Mtwara, Lindi, Tanga and Pwani Regions.
“Our target is to spend 700bn/- and I believe by February 15, the verification exercise will have been completed and all farmers will have been paid,’’ he insisted.
Initially, the government had set February 5 as the deadline for cashew nut operation, but it decided to add ten more days so that all the consignments from farmers were verified and payments done.
Regarding the price, the PM said the president had directed payment of 3,300/- for Standard Grade cashew nuts while under grade cashew nuts were purchased at 80 per cent lower price of the Standard Grade.
This means, the price difference on the purchase of cashew nuts was caused by the grades. Mr Majaliwa said the government had already issued clarification over the price differences through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Last week, Ndanda MP Cecil Mwambe (CHADEMA) expressed his dismay over less payment that was being disbursed to farmers, against President Magufuli’s directive that every kilogramme of cashew nuts be purchased at 3,300/-.
According to him, some farmers were receiving a lesser amount of up to 2,600/-
In his clarification, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture said the standard grade of cashew nuts was being purchased at an indicative price of 3,300/- while under grade cashew nuts were bought at 2,640 which was 80per cent of an indicative price.
“We cannot purchase substandard products at higher prices and as MPs you need to educate farmers in your constituencies on that,’’ he said.
Yesterday, the Premier said initially the verification exercise was being undertaken by the Cereals and other Produce Board of Tanzania (CPB) but to expedite the exercise he directed on January 27 that Local Government Authorities be involved to beat the February 15 deadline.
President Magufuli recently insisted that all cashew nuts must be bought from farmers, and all the collected crops must be moved from primary cooperative unions for storage in government warehouses.