Mtwara — The government has vowed to make public the list of all cashew nut farmers who have been paid, after the emergence of others claiming they have not received payments.
This was said by the minister of Agriculture Japhet Hasunga here when speaking with members of parliamentary committee on Livestock and Water at the Mtwara regional commissioner's office yesterday.
The minister said the move would enable it to identify unscrupulous farmers who have been paid but continue to claim that they are yet to be paid, a claim that is tarnishing the image of the government.
"There have been a number of farmers who have complained that they are yet to be paid, which sometimes is not true. What they want is to just tarnish the image and public confidence of the government," he said.
He said to avoid these 'lies'; the government had come up with a strategy of publishing names of farmers who have been paid in public to thwart those looking to tarnish its image.
"I think some are trying to escape debt owed to fellow villagers. I want all the names of people who have been paid to be placed at the local government offices," the minister ordered.
He revealed that a total of 22,684 tonnes of cashews have been collected as of March 14, this year, and Sh596.9 billion out of Sh723 billion has already been paid to farmers.
The government took up the task of buying all cashew nuts produced during the last season, following a disagreement with private buyers on the commodity's price. He said the government was planning to pay all farmers by the end of this month, after the near-completion of verification process.
He expressed surprise that Mtwara Region which produces half of all cashew nuts had fewer unscrupulous traders, known as Kangomba, than Lindi Region, which is a minor producer.
"Why does Mtwara have only ten unlicensed traders, but Lindi which produces a small quantity of cashew nuts has 400 unlicensed cashew dealers?" he asked.
The chairperson of the Bunge team, Dr Christine Ishengoma, praised the government for its plan to start registering farmers across the country.
"I congratulate the minister for this move and we hope that this will create positive impacts to farmers themselves including accessing extension services from the government," she said.
The chairperson of the parliamentary committee Dr Christine Ishengoma has commended the government for its plan to start registering farmers across the country.