Samia: No ban of crops export

…Demands traders to follow procedures

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has insisted that the government has not banned export of agricultural crops, saying that foreign traders are allowed to purchase the produce under outlined procedures.

The Head of State made the remarks during the climax of Famers Day (Nanenane) celebration held at John Mwakangale grounds in Mbeya Region yesterday.

Dr Samia also directed relevant authorities to create a streamlined system for the purchase, sale and transportation of crops for the benefit of the farmers and country as  whole.

She said the system will enable the government to accurately know the amount of crops being exported and revenue accrued. The system will also control unethical traders from exploiting farmers, she said.

In making it possible, the Head of State directed the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Immigration, to set up a joint system for managing the sale of crops outside the country, so that farmers can benefit from their sweat.

“There is need to set up a good system for buying crops and control traders from outside the country from buying crops directly from the farmers by using local currency, because this is denying the government the much needed foreign currency,” Dr Samia said.

President Samia also urged the farmers to sell surplus food to the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) at a good price to avoid exploiters who buy directly from the farm at  cheap price.

The president also expressed her delight on the significant growth of horticulture sub sector, saying the government will continue to provide enabling environment for farmers to continue improving their produce.

“I’m impressed to see horticulture production is on the rise and the country has secure reliable market abroad,” Dr Samia said.

To enhance storage capacity and ease transportation procedures, President Samia said the government continues with the construction of two integrated centres in Mufindi in Iringa Region and Hai in Kilimanjaro Region for the collection and grading of horticulture produce.

She said the centres will be run by the private sector in accordance with the procedure set by the government.

Dr Samia said the horticulture sub sector needs massive investment, especially in transportation and storage after harvest, saying engaging the private sector was crucial.

President Samia also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to consider drawing water from Lake Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa and set up infrastructure systems to beef up irrigation schemes across the country that will enable farmers to harvest twice a year.

Moreover, the president said the government continues to make efforts in increasing the participation of youth and women in agriculture by establishing an eight-year Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) programme.

“So far, 812 qualified young people, including 282 females and 530 males are continuing with the first phase of agribusiness training in 13 centres for a period of four months,” she said.

On the other hand, she urged all agricultural stakeholders to participate in Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit (AGRF-2023), to be held in Dar es Salaam from September 5th to 8th, this year. The summit will attract more than 3,000 participants from around the world.

“The platform will provide the country with business opportunities and strengthen cooperation with other African countries,” she said.

The president added that the summit provides a platform for an integrated system to improve agriculture, livestock and fisheries as well as stimulating more employment and investment for the country’s economic growth,” she noted.

Earlier yesterday, President Samia witnessed the signing agreement for the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) programme implementation between the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and National Force (JKT).

She also handed over tablets to 3500 of the 7000 extension officers across the country, printing machines to 143 councils and working tools to 420 youths.

President Samia also launched various programmes, including the drilling of 67,800 water wells for small farmers as well as the fertiliser subsidy prices for the second agriculture season that will start on September 1st this year.

When inspecting the pavilions, President Samia made a brief stop at the Yara Tanzania Limited, which is the fertiliser manufacturer that supports the government agenda of improving access of fertiliser to smallholder growers at a competitive price and drive the industrial development of the country.

On the fertiliser supply, Dr Samia told the company to continue supplying such farm input. “Keep supplying fertiliser, we will pay you. Even during times when we are stuck in terms of funds, you just give us fertiliser then we will pay later on,” she stated.

The company’s Managing Director, Winstone Odhiambo admitted that they were getting payments from the ministry without delay.

While at Azania Bank and Stanbic Bank pavilions, President Samia called on financial institutions to reduce the interest on farmers’ loans to a single digit.

The Head of State also extended the Nanenane exhibition for one week. Thereafter the John Mwakangale grounds will be closed for massive construction of the new state-of-the-art structures to meet the international standards. The construction will be in two phases.

In this case, President Samia announced that the next edition of Nanenane fair at national level will shift to Dodoma.

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