IF all goes well cashewnut farmers in the southern regions will today start receiving 3,300/- per kilogramme of the raw cashews.Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) official confirmed here yesterday that everything was in place to start procurement of the cash crop as President John Magufuli had directed last Monday.
Some 70 army trucks were yesterday dispatched from the Tanzania People's Defence Forces' (TPDF) Mgulani KJ 95 transport unit to Mtwara and Lindi to transport the produce from small stores to large warehouses, ready for purchase by the bank.
TADB Head of Risk and Compliance, Adam Kamana, confirmed here that the funds have already been channeled into the systems to start effecting the buying of the cash crop from farmers."
All concerned parties are headed for a meeting to chart out the payment arrangement to farmers. If all goes well, farmers will start receiving payments tomorrow (today)," Mr Kamana, accompanied by the army officials and Lindi regional leaders, explained.
The team included Lindi Regional Commissioner, Godfrey Zambi, Head of "Operation Korosho", Colonel Benjamin Kisinda and National Service's Economic Wing, SUMA JKT, Managing Director, Colonel Rajab Mabere.
Speaking at Buko Cashewnut Factory, which President Magufuli has handed over to SUMAJKT, Colonel Mabere said the army unit is conducting an assessment before revamping the plant to attain its full production capacity.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that the factory is brought back to order and start production at full capacity," Col Mabere stated.
The Operation Commander, Colonel Kisinda told journalists that as per President Magufuli's directive, all warehouses storing cashews in the regions were under tight security by the army.
An official from the Treasury Registrar was glad that the factory repossession by the government will create jobs, add value to cashews and eventually generate revenues for the government.
On Tuesday evening, the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga, insisted that cracking the nuts will be done locally to add value to the crop and provide jobs to Tanzanians.
"The country has been losing a lot of jobs through exportation of raw cashew nuts. There were a lot of processing factories but they collapsed due to sabotage from dishonest people inclined on exporting raw nuts," he explained.
A cross-section of Lindi residents have showered praises on President Magufuli for the decision to repossess the cashew processing plant and engaging TADB and TPDF in purchasing their produce.
Meanwhile, FLORENCE MUGARULA reports from Dodoma that the lawmakers yesterday showered praises on President Magufuli for his bold decisions to support majority poor Tanzanians especially cashew growers.
Reading the resolution in the House here, Mr Elibariki Kingu (Singida West- CCM) assured the President that the National Assembly was available to give him devoted support to ensure that his efforts and patriotism serve as a catalyst for all Tanzanians to benefit from natural resources, including agriculture sector.
The MP said for some years farmers have been suffering from low prices, charging that President Magufuli's decision to turn around things on cashew nuts business must be commended by each and every Tanzanian.
"Some few traders have been exploiting farmers by buying crops at low prices, we should rally behind the Head of State on this," he said.
Mr Kingu added that President Magufuli's decision to buy cashew nuts from farmers will save 160bn/- which would have evaporated into traders' pockets if they bought the produce at 2,500/- per kilogramme.
The MP further asked the government to search for reliable and profitable markets for other crops like maize, coffee, cotton, sisal and sun flower.
The MP asked his fellow legislators to collectively support President Magufuli's decision, challenging the government to search for reliable and profitable markets, establish crop processing industries in the country and ask farmers, traders, pastoralists and all other 'wananchi' to support the government efforts.
Ms Riziki Rulida (Special Seats-CUF) supported the resolution, saying President Magufuli has shown his true colours by supporting poor Tanzanian farmers.
"For many years Tanzanian farmers have been exploited by traders, this time around, the Head of State has decided to stand for the poor, this is a big relief to us," she said.
The resolution was overwhelmingly passed after several MPs, including those from opposition, supported it.