THE government said yesterday that it has cleared all arrears it owed cashew nut farmers for the 2018/19 trading season.
President John Magufuli said the government had paid more than 800bn/- to cashew farmers and the pending 20bn/- was released last week.
He made the revelation to Nangurukuru residents in Lindi Region, during a stop-over en-route to Dar es Salaam from Lupaso Village in Mtwara Region where he attended the burial of the third phase President Benjamin Mkapa.
"The government has already released 20bn/-, which was pending to finalise payment to cashew nut farmers for the previous season... I don't expect any other claims," Dr Magufuli said.
He said that the payments were meant for genuine farmers and not middlemen known as ‘kangomba’ who were exploiting farmers.
Dr Magufuli added that the money was released after the government finalised the verification exercise on all claims.
During the 2018/19 season, the government announced that it would buy all cashew nuts from farmers after the traders announced a low price.
Last week, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the government had released 20bn/- for clearing farmers’ arrears.
The premier said the traders announced a low price of 1500/- instead of 3,000/- per kilogramme. He said the decision prompted the government’s intervention.
He said President Magufuli had released the money for Tandahimba, Masasi, Mtwara and Kibiti farmers, who were previously paid part of the money and those who had not been paid.
However, he urged the farmers to mobilise and prepare for the next crop trading season that stretches from September to December every year.
According to Mr Majaliwa, the authority’s verification conducted in Kibiti, Rufiji, Mkuranga, Ruangwa, Liwale, Lindi, Tunduru and other districts in Mtwara Region, showed that farmers and other service providers were supposed to be paid what the State owed them.
He said Tandahimba farmers were leading the list with 9bn/-, Masasi (2.3bn/-), and Mtwara Rural (884m/-).
The list included Lindi and Coast regions, whose service providers, transporters, would be paid 3.3bn/- He, however, announced that the new buying season of the cash crop will begin in September 2020 through to December 2020.
Mr Majaliwa urged cashew nut farmers to start using hybrid seedlings that produce bounty yields within a short period.
Meanwhile, Dr Magufuli has called upon residents in southern regions to honour the late President Mkapa by working hard.
He said the ex-president worked hard to improve infrastructure in the regions, stressing that they were obliged to honour the fallen hero.
Dr Magufuli said the distinguished statesman constructed the 970-metre Mkapa Bridge in Rufiji District to serve the southern regions.
He noted that the bridge was the longest in East and Central Africa, adding that they decided that it should bear his name in his honour.
Dr Magufuli called upon the residents to continue praying for the late Mkapa's soul to rest in eternal peace.
While at Mkuranga, Dr Magufuli called upon Tanzanians to uphold peace by exposing people engaging in criminal activities that posed a threat to the country's stability.
He said the government had contained criminal incidents in Kibiti which had resulted in the killings of various people, including police officers.