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Tanzania (EN)

Government injects Sh50bn for buying maize

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By Sharon Sauwa

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Dodoma. The government yesterday responded positively to public outcry over maize market, with an injection of Sh50 billion, a day after lawmakers advised the government to increase its budget for buying the produce for reserve.

On Thursday, legislators debated a private motion moved by Kilolo MP Justine Nyamoga who submitted that the maize market situation was an emergence issue.

The MPs advised the government to intervene on the dropping prices by increasing the budget for its National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) so it owuld buy more maize from the farmers.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday said the government had approved Sh50 billion that would be spent on maize from farmers, a move meant to stabilise the crop’s prices.

He made the statement in Parliament yesterday while adjourning Parliamentary meeting in Dodoma.

Parliament was adjourned until November 2, this year.

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“The government has heard the cries of farmers through their MPs. We have already received Sh50 billion. Purchasing will start on Monday, September 13, 2021,” said Mr Majaliwa.

Citing other steps that the government has taken to rescue the maize price situation, Mr Majaliwa said the government had earlier provided Sh15 billion to the NFRA to buy maize from various parts of the country.

He also said the government has provided Sh10 billion to the Cereals and Mixed Crops Board (CPB) to increase crop purchasing capital.

“I urge the Ministry of Agriculture to closely monitor NFRA and CPB to buy only maize from local farmers. In addition, add more maize buying centres at the district and small towns levels,” he said.

He said the government was finalizing agreement with South Sudan, DR Congo and Zimbabwe to widen the maize market outside the country.

“Another step we have taken is to open borders for a period of two months for export markets where export permits are issued free of charge through the district commissioners’ offices and online so that traders can easily obtain them. Food delivery will be done with the utmost care to ensure that the country continues to have adequate food security,” he stressed.

He pointed out that another measure was to link grain traders in the country with foreign traders through Tanzanian embassies and increase the value of produce.

In addition to buying grain, the Prime Minister said the government was monitoring the supply of fertilizers to ensure that the product was available in bulk and cheap.

“The government’s goal is to enable farmers to afford the cost of fertilizer,” he added.

In another step, Mr Majaliwa urged farmers and buyers of crops to continue to strengthen the receipt system as it has shown great beneficial results.

“The warehouse receipt system is the only one that has been proven to show great useful results. Therefore, let us continue to strengthen it in all commercial crops in the country for prosperity of farmers and the nation as a whole,” he added.

Mr Majaliwa ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to work closely with cooperatives and grassroot associations to ensure that they enable farmers to access education and the benefits of using a secure warehouse receipt system to ensure productivity.

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