SEVERAL Members of Parliament on Wednesday raised red flag on inflated prices of farm inputs, saying it demoralises and impedes farmers’ efforts in improving their agricultural produce.
Contributing to the speech of Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa over his office’s 2021/22 budget, the lawmakers said instead, improving infrastructures would facilitate the market for agricultural produce.
+ (CCM), spoke about cashew nuts, saying it is one of strategic crops some dishonest traders hike its farm inputs’ prices to create chaos and in turn take advantage of the situation to charge them high. “I call upon the government to ensure that it improves a system for buying cashew nuts, so that farmers could get profit,” Mr Mwambe asked.
Namtumbo Member of Parliament, Vita Kawawa (CCM) came with the same idea saying the practice was discouraging farmers, adding: “This matter has to be considered seriously.” Special Seats MP, Neema Mgaya (CCM), commended government’s decision to have an agricultural hub at Kurasini which will serve as one stop centre for managing agricultural trade.
Ms Mgaya argued that the hub would be a solution to costly exportation of horticulture products from Tanzania, because currently, the export is done via Mombasa Port. But, once the hub becomes operational, the traders would be able to export through the Dar es Salaam port.
However, the lawmaker sought explanation from the government over when the hub will start operations. She further said there was also importance of having the horticulture board in place as soon as possible in order to bring efficiency on the horticulture produce, including the avocado crop.
Commenting, Kyerwa MP Innocent Bilakwate pointed out that emphasis on strategic crops was not enough, especially on increasing their market, suggesting that the government should invest more on improving rural roads to enable farmers to easily transport their produce from the farms to the market.
Other legislators had different contributions over the Prime Minister’s speech. For instance, Ilala legislator Mussa Zungu spoke over the mining sector, advising the government to reduce operations costs for the mining companies so that they could pay more to the government.
He also suggested that all mines should be under the government and allow investors only to come with technologies and machineries to mine.
On her part, Ms Easter Bulaya (Special Seats—Chadema) asked the government to clear debts it owes the social security funds in order to make the schemes implement their duties including paying benefits to retirees.
“Members’ contributions do not reach the social security funds, something which hinders payment of benefits to retirees,” she said.