Dodoma — THE Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives has admitted that many district authorities failed to distribute fertilizers and other inputs to farmers on time this season and that investigation was underway to learn what went wrong.
The Ministry's Deputy Minister, Mr Adam Malima, told the National Assembly that the delay in the distribution of fertilizers to farmers has occurred despite the fact that the ministry had disbursed the same on time. He was responding to a supplementary question by Ms Agripina Buyogera (Kasulu Rural-NCCR-Mageuzi) who wanted to know the measures taken by the government to discipline local authorities for negligence in distributing fertilizers.
She charged that in her district the fertilizer committee met recently to lay down strategies for distribution of the same, wondering to what use such distribution will be when the season has already started. Mr Malima admitted that there was a problem at local authority level and that such complaints were common all over the country.
"It is a problem shared in many districts and we are taking measures including carrying out investigations to get to know what went wrong so that we take measures to prevent the same from reoccurring," he said.In her basic question, Ms Buyogera wanted to know the government plans in making sure farmers' demands were met accordingly amidst varying cultivation seasons.
She also wanted to know why the government should not consider lending farmers fertilizer of which they will pay after harvesting and selling their produce as most of them could not afford despite the subsidized prices.Mr Malima said research has been conducted and various zones have been discovered basing on the amount of rain received in a particular place.
"In ensuring that many farmers have access to farm inputs, the government is expecting, in this financial year, to introduce farm inputs loans to farmers in a system that will not involve banks," he said. He added that the programme will be implemented through cooperative unions which will borrow for its members and the government will guarantee them to access loans from banks at an interest rate of 8 per cent.
"Already, some 18,977 tonnes of fertilizer have been distributed and some 421,362 vouchers of seeds have been distributed to various districts in the country," he said.