Ruangwa — The leadership of the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) has been asked to expand its scope of services including opening shops for selling agro-inputs in a move aimed at empowering farmers to acquire insecticides for spraying their cashew trees on time.
The appeal was made by farmers from Madangwa and Mandawa wards in Ruangwa, Lindi Region, during the auctioning of cashews in Chiuta Village and Mandawa Ward in Ruangwa District Council.
Making the request on behalf of fellow farmers, Mr Nandewa Yusufu said the absence of agro-input shops forced them to walk long hours looking for inputs, which were sometimes not enough because of the big number of cashew trees on their farms.
He said besides the inputs not being easily accessible, the stock of inputs sent was sold at a high price. A farmer from Chiuta Village, Mr Mohamedi Muwa, said the situation had caused low cashew yields in the current harvesting season.
"The insecticides brought by the government last year were insufficient and the dealers were selling inputs at higher prices contrary to the government's indicative prices," said Mr Muwa.
He added that during the farming season, farmers were often forced to purchase the inputs at higher prices outside their areas.
Responding, CBT deputy chairman Edgal Maokola Majogo promised to present the request for input shops to responsible authorities, urging firms that purchased cashews to adhere to conditions put in place including making payments on time to ensure farmers benefit from their cash.
Mr Majogo also called upon executives of primary societies to desist from mixing money obtained from the previous auction and the future auctions as by doing so, he said, it was contravening the procedure tailored by the relevant authority.
In the auction that took place on Monday, October 23, over 2.7 tonnes of cashews and 224 kilos of the product were bought from Nachingwea warehouses in Lindi Region, whereby the highest price of the crop was Sh3,875 and the lowest at Sh3,860.