TANZANIA has a grain reserve amounting to 244,830 tonnes stored at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Eng Christopher Chiza has announced.
Eng Chiza noted that during the 2013/14 season, government through NFRA purchased 219, 377 tonnes of cereals in which more than 218,878 tonnes were maize and sorghum 499 tonnes.
He said NFRA intends to buy a total of 200,000 tonnes, including 190,000 tonnes of maize and 10,000 tonnes of rice in the farming season 2014/15 respectively.
The minister made the clarification in Dar es Salaam on Friday after he paid a special visit to NFRA stores to assess the food situation and later held a press conference and talked to NFRA members of the staff.
He said the agency expects to sell 75,000 tonnes inside and outside the country to create space for crops to be harvested in the 2014/15 farming season.
"About 50,000 tonnes will be sold in neighbouring countries 20,000 tonnes within the country, while 5,000 tonnes is for government institutions," Chiza said, adding that revenue to be collected would be spent on the purchase crops for a new crop season 2014/15.
He stressed that the new process for selling maize will be transparent so as to reduce complaints and buyers will be evaluated based on competitive pricing.
"Bona fide buyers will be granted the permit to purchase maize from the warehouses that will be identified in the designated centres," said the Minister, adding that all farmers are allowed to sell their food crops in and outside the country.
However the minister insisted his ministry will screen middle men and ensure that they pay cash to farmers before taking food crops from them.
Commenting on the pathetic practice of some middlemen who bought crops on credit, the minister said his office would work closely with district council authorities and zonal food reserve officers to ascertain the credibility of traders and disallow verbal promises.
NFRA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Charles Walwa outlined some of the criteria which potential agents should be credited for which include enough experience, registered for crop business, holding valid business licence, have sufficient capital to cover at least 50 per cent of contract requirements, capable of selling to NFRA between 200 and 500 tonnes of grain annually among others.
The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) is a Public Institution established as an Executive Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security Cooperatives for the purpose of guaranteeing national food security by addressing food shortage through procuring and releasing food stocks in an efficient and cost effective manner.