Mtwara — Cashew farmers in Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma have so far pocketed a total of nearly Sh5 billion since the government started buying the precious food commodity.
The amount was recorded after 130,111 kilograms of cashew nuts were bought through the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB).
This is slightly over half of the available stock this season. The government estimates to collect a total of 220,000 tonnes from both warehouses and households. Mtwara regional commissioner Gelisius Byanakwa said all paid cashew stocks are those collected from three regions, exuding confidence that all stocks will be purchased by 100 per cent. Mr Byanakwa was presenting to the public a report on the special cashew marketing exercise launched by the government after private buyers offered farmers low prices, which were not proportional to the cost of production and real market prices.
He said the government is ensuring that all stocks are bought from cooperatives and farmers warehouses to save the crop from imminent rains.
The government ordered the buyers to pay a cashew nuts grower Sh3,300 per kilogramme and President John Magufuli has directed the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) to collect all bought cashew nuts to special warehouses ready for processing. A big chunk of the collected cashew is expected to be processed by the National Service Brigade of the TPDF.
Mr Byanakwa reported that the growers were paid Sh3,300 as directed by the President and that an appraisal exercise was going on in 83 cooperatives where cashew nuts were bought from peasants in the three regions.
"We were given clear instructions that a grower must be paid Sh3,300 per kilogramme. The story does not end at buying the nuts; we have undertaken an evaluation exercise to ensure that all growers received that amount in all the 83 societies in the three regions where cashew nuts were sold," the RC reported.