26 May 2014

Tanzania: Coast Region Farmers Hurt By Informal Marketing System

Kibaha — PROPER and formal marketing systems are only ways to aid farmers in the Coast Region who have been selling their crops at low prices through an informal and exploitative system.

Coast Regional Commissioner, Ms Mwantumu Mahiza said despite the region being rich in agricultural, forest and ocean products, for some time its residents live in poverty because they do not reap maximum benefits from their produce.

She said that agricultural produce from the region such as cassava from Mkuranga and Kisarawe districts, mangoes and fish from Bagamoyo, sesame from Rufiji, coconuts from Mafia and others are sold at low prices in the districts but sold at higher prices elsewhere.

"There is an urgent need to assist our people by forming proper markets for their produce, be it through auctions or any system set by district councils which will guarantee fair prices to the farmers", she said.

The RC also noted that factory owners in the region have started paying taxes in the region instead of Dar es Salaam as was the case in the past, which has helped to increase the regions' revenues.

Ms Mahiza then directed all district councils to form revenue committees from ward levels so as to ensure proper collection of taxes from all sources.

On his part, Deputy Regional Administrative Officer (Economic Affairs and Production), Mr Shangwe Twamala said while presenting a paper on the contribution of economic and production sectors in improving councils' sources of income that lack of proper systems in marketing and revenue collections has resulted into losses of millions while leaving farmers poor. "We could collect billions of shillings each year from various sources.

For example, only 40 per cent of agricultural produce could bring up to 4,208,090,000/- annually," he said. He broke down each district and the amount it can contribute in brackets as Bagamoyo (822,034,000/-), Kibaha Municipality (7,800,000/-), Kibaha District (59,340,000/-), Kisarawe (482,654,000/-), Mafia (24,690,000/-), Mkuranga (488,360,000/-) and Rufiji (2,323,212,000/-).

According to the figures, agricultural produce alone could earn the region about 19bn/- per year. Mr Twamala further said that councils have not only been setting low targets in crops revenue collections but have also failed to collect the amounts which have been targeted.

He gave an example of the 2012/2013 financial year and noted that each district collected lower than the targeted revenues.

During that period, Kibaha District collected 185,000/- (targeted 6,000,000/-), Bagamoyo collected 86,156,400/- (target- ed 108,000,000/-), Rufiji collected 147,768,950/- (targeted 192,535,000/-) and Kisarawe 17,283,000/- out of targeted 21,600,000/-.

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