THE introduction of a fertiliser bulk procurement system (FBPS) is meant to enhance productivity and ensure reliable availability of commodities, the Ministry of Agriculture has said.
The new system, which became effective during the 2017/18 fiscal year, has seen farmers including coffee growers benefiting from the supply of fertilisers throughout the farming season.
“The FBPS is meant to improve the availability and distribution of agricultural inputs especially fertilisers for all crop producers in the country,” the ministry told the National Assembly in a written response to Buhingwe MP Albert Obama (CCM).
In its response, the government noted that it was previously providing agricultural input subsidy (seeds and fertilisers) to farmers across the country, a programme which was implemented between from 2003/04 and 2016/17.
“Agricultural input subsidies are now available for maize and rice farmers only,” said the ministry, noting that the government recognised the importance of fertilisers in the production of food and cash crops, including coffee, hence the introduction of FBPS.
The bulk procurement system has apart from ensuring timely and affordable price of the commodity, strengthened the distribution system as well as boosting of business capital among traders.
It has also reduced operational cots and facilitated supervision.
According to the ministry, coffee farmers in the country have since 2017/18 been purchasing fertilisers in accordance with their actual demand basing on market prices.
In his basic question the legislator wanted to know why the government was not providing subsidies to coffee farmers.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that the country’s coffee production has reached 214,962 tonnes in four years.
The country produces an average of 51,777 tonnes of coffee annually.
On employment, coffee has increased jobs in the sector from 2.3 to 2.7 million.
There are 554 coffee processing factories in the country.
Coffee is among the country’s strategic crops grown in 16 regions in the country, including Songwe, Mbeya, Ruvuma, Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Mara, Kigoma, Tanga, Morogoro, Njombe, Katavi and Mwanza.