DEPUTY Minister for Agriculture Mr Innocent Bashungwa says time is up for the country to go for pesticides bulk procurement, in order to tame fake and substandard chemicals which affect agroindustrial development.
He gave the advice over the weekend during a work plan meeting embracing Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC) members and leaders of crop boards.
Mr Bashungwa said they were doing well with fertiliser and seed aspects as far as the agricultural sector was concerned, the only hitch being on pesticides.
“Famers use quality seeds and fertilisers but when it comes to pesticides, that has been a stumbling block and it fails farmers’ efforts since in most cases they are either fake or substandard; hence the need to consider bulk procurement of the substances,” the deputy minister said.
He underscored the need for the Tanzania Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) that tests the samples to observe diligence and patriotism and avoid the malpractices.
Mr Bashungwa pointed out that they would not spare any official from the relevant public verification unit who would tamper with the testing of the pesticides for personal gains.
“Dishonest dealers have a very elaborate network, but we need officials with integrity and patriotism for agricultural sector development,” said Mr Bashungwa, adding: “For the seeds, we have the best system, on fertiliser, we have bulk procurement, the only remaining challenge is for the pesticides, that is why, we think of bulk procurement as well,” he said, adding that there was a need for a third party to make a verification after sample testing.
The deputy minister used the occasion to invite investors in pesticide and fertiliser manufacturing industries but also good prices of the items.
He directed crop board chairpersons and the TCDC commissioner to think of the best practices that will address the issue of fake and substandard imported pesticides for a vibrant agricultural sector.
Mr Bashungwa also called for the introduction of a productive system that will ensure that cooperatives deliver at their best and TCDC should make a close monitoring of the crop boards to improve the sector’s performance.
On his part, TCDC Board Chairman, Dr Titus Kamani, said the meeting intended to come up with the best practices for supporting farmers to meet their targets by having timely agricultural inputs as well as reliable markets for their produce.
He said the farmers’ databases will assist them in their work plan as they would have details of each farmer’s location and thus follow ups easier.
Dr Kamani said more concrete plans will be discussed, especially on the strategic crops, taking into consideration the fact that the country was now gears towards industrial economy status.