As efforts by the government to search for reliable buyers of cashewnuts in and outside the country continue, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has issued a four-day ultimatum to 35 buyers, to write a letter and submit to his office, stating their intent and the amount of cashews they are planning to purchase.
It has come to the government's attention that despite President John Magufuli convening a meeting with buyers about two weeks ago, during which 35 companies agreed and registered to buy the crop, traders have been hesitantly purchasing the cashews, putting the welfare of framers at risk.
During the meeting, traders agreed before President Magufuli to buy the cashews at not less than 3,000/- per kilogramme, but such buyers now appear to be reluctantly accepting the price given a go-slow that is currently being witnessed.
According to Prime Minister Majaliwa, upon expiry of the deadline no company or any trader will be allowed to purchase cashew nuts from the farmers.
"All the registered buyers have until 4pm Monday next week to have letters submitted to my office. The letters must state the amount of cashewnuts and timeframe for them to collect the crops from farmers," said Mr Majaliwa yesterday.
He said those who will not show up until the given deadline will have their buying permits revoked.
"During our meeting that was broadcast live, it was the buyers who suggested the price of 3,000/-, unfortunately, their turn up at auctions is not satisfactory. The government is considering the move as a boycott that has negative affects to farmers," he said.
Mr Majaliwa added that so far there are 35 buyers who were registered but only few showed up in recent auctions.
He went on to explain that this year, cashewnut production in the country is expected to decline to over 200,000 tonnes from over 300,000 tonnes that were recorded last season, adding as of now, there is about 78,000 tonnes of the crop that have remained unsold in the stores.
The Prime Minister said the government, after realising that the price was hindering the auction, it conducted a research to the various markets in the world where it realised that the 3,000/- price was a reasonable amount to buy a kilogramme of the crop.
Meanwhile, the government has urged farmers to remain calm as it is working on the matter.