Tanzania: Talks On Cashew Nuts Saga Hot Up

Cashew nuts.

Dar/Dodoma — The government will consult Members of Parliament (MPs) from cashew nuts growing regions in a bid to resolve the export levy saga and its recently tabled amendments.

The two issues triggered a heated debate in the parliament with stakeholders from the six cashew nut growing regions travelling to Dodoma to seek explanation over the matter.

Report from Dodoma says the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, convened a meeting with the MPs on Saturday at his residency on how the issue will be solved.

The minister for Agriculture,Dr Charles Tizeba, also met the MPs yesterday after the Premier's meeting ended without notable agreement and today they will meet Finance and Planning minister Dr Philip Mpango.

The lawmakers, who attended the marathon meeting, include George Mkuchika (Newala Urban-CCM), Cecil Mwambe (Ndanda- Chadema), Jerome Bwanausi (Lulindi- CCM) and Hassan Masala (Nachingwea-CCM).

Others were Seleman Bungara alias Bwege (Kilwa South- CUF), Hamidu Bobali (Mchinga-CUF), Riziki Lulida (Special Seats MP-CUF), Vedasto Ngombale Mwiru (Kilwa North-CUF), Abdallah Chikota (Nanyamba-CCM), Dua Nkurua (Nanyumbu-CCM) and Hamida Abdallah (Special Seats MP-CCM).

"We didn't reach the consensus because Mr Majaliwa represented the government's interests while we were safeguarding interests of our farmers," said one of the MPs on condition of anonymity. The Lindi MPs chairman, Mr Bungara said: "We insisted on the need of export levy to be paid back to farmers otherwise we will demonstrate."

According to him, they were to meet Mr Tizeba in another consultation meeting.

Speaking on the MPs-farmers meeting, the Tunduru South MP, Mr Daimu Mpakate, told The Citizen that the lawmakers have given the farmers feedback on the two issues: export levy and amendment of the cashew nut law.

"We want answers from Mr Tizeba on Sh10 deducted in every kilogramme of cashew nut for the Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT)," he said.

"They also questioned the whereabouts of Sh60 and Sh30 deducted for cooperative unions."

For his part, the Tandahimba Farmers Association (Tafa) chairman, Mr Faraji Njapuka, said they told the MPs that they preferred monies generated from cashew nut to be used for improving productivity of the crop.

"The MPs have commended our good intention and passion for the growth of the cash crop. We expect to get MP's feedback tomorrow (today) before holding a press conference," he said.

The government has proposed changes in the Cashew nut Industry Act (Cap,203), whereby the export levy will be collected in the consolidated fund, instead of the current situation where 65 of the fund is collected in the cashew nut fund.

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