FARMERS in Manda village are demanding for the government to intensify public education on the recently introduced warehouse receipt system that enables farmers to deposit storable produces, especially grains, in exchange for a warehouse receipt.
They expressed optimism in the new plan, which they believe could help end the sale of sesame at a throwaway price of 15,000/- per bucket.
Under the system, the warehouse receipt is a document issued by warehouse operators as evidence that specified commodities of stated quantity and quality have been deposited at a particular location.
Zacharia Hans, a local farmer, said farmers are required to use the system, but unfortunately they don’t understand why they are kept waiting for their payments immediately after selling their produces.
“We’re forced to wait for more than two weeks, this is hard,” he said. “If the government wants to help farmers, it must come with weighing scales alongside the monies... we weigh the sesame, we get paid, simple!.”
He said it is hard to wait for two weeks while one has financial problems, adding that the only option farmers find is to sell their produce to unscrupulous traders at a very low price.
Japhet Gwisu, another farmer in the area, said the entire district has only a single warehouse located at Fufu village, making it difficult for farmers to pay for transport cost. He said some farmers would need to travel at least 100 km to get to the warehouse.
“We struggle in the farms, yet a single hectare gets only two bags of sesame. Regardless of the price of 2,125/- per kilo, we need to be paid on cash,” he added.
The farmers say the government must also understand the struggles that farmers have to endure to put the product on the bag.
John Mangaa, also a farmer, had a different opinion when he explained that the government plan was for the benefit of the farmers and not the state.
He urged the government to strengthen the cooperative system in the region to ensure the introduced warehouse system does not send another wrong message to farmers.
Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga, acknowledged that the warehouse receipt system aims at ensuring farmers sale their produces at the actual market price, which is profitable enough to meet their investment costs.
The crops stored at the warehouses are classified based on their quality and auctioned as per their standards. “The receipt that they receive can be cashed at a respective banks,” he said, agreeing that most farmers had not been well informed on the warehouse receipt system.
He said not only in Chamwino, but a lot of areas have received the system with mixed feeling.
“For the system to be effective, we need strong cooperative societies,” he said.
The warehouse receipt system has performed well in areas where societies are full strengthened.
It includes those in Ruvuma, Lindi and Mtwara, he said, expressing regrets that the same system cannot work effectively in Dodoma, Singida, Manyara and Katavi.