INTRODUCTION OF bulk procurement system for agricultural inputs will help the government to save billions of shillings which were lost through middlemen.
Agriculture Deputy Minister Mr Hussein Bashe said recently that using middlemen in procuring farm inputs was neither beneficial to farmers nor to the government since it has been increasing the cost by 30 per cent.
He said the government was planning to introduce bulk procurement system for pesticides in the next season in order to get quality agricultural inputs and ensure timely delivery to farmers.
Mr Bashe said that it was impossible to spend more than 40bn/-on a single crop for only two agricultural inputs..."this is not just to farmers," adding: "The government is currently working on the new procurement plan which is expected to be introduced in the next season," Mr Bashe said.
The deputy minister said the government will announce the tender that will allow overseas manufacturers to participate in order to fetch a better price for the inputs and improve its delivery to farmers.
Mr Bashe said that the supply of agricultural inputs in the country has been facing a number of challenges; That’s why the government embarked on a review of the system in order to come up with one that will be beneficial not only to farmers but also the country.
Meanwhile, the government is expecting to distribute 15 million cashew nut seedlings to farmers in efforts to boost production.
He said that the seedlings will be distributed free to farmers to enable them to replace the old cashew nut trees.
The deputy minister, however, directed all district councils in Lindi Region to set aside part of their revenue and his ministry will also contribute in order to purchase the seedlings.
He said that cashew nut production in the country was expected to increase in the next season from 224,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes .
Mr Bashe noted that the auctioning of cashew nuts in the coming season will be transparent in order to fetch good prices.
Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) Naliendele said recently that it had developed over 50 cashew nut varieties which can be grown all over the country.
The varieties which have been released and officially registered make Tanzania the only country in Africa which has developed a large number of cashew varieties.
TARI Naliendele Acting Centre Director Dr Fortunus Kapinga said the improved cashew nut varieties have enabled famers to increase efficiency in terms of amount of raw cashew nuts produced and the produce obtained per unit area.
Dr Kapinga added that through the use of improved cashew nut varieties, farmers were also producing quality nuts acceptable in international standards.
He also said that his institute has embarked on establishment of cashew nut nurseries in the new cash crop growing regions to facilitate the availability of the crop seedlings in the areas.