PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed cotton sector stakeholders to address all problems that are affecting the crop's development, as the government seeks to record a harvest of more than 445,000 tonnes this season, up from 220,000 tonnes in 2018/2019.
Addressing an extraordinary meeting that brought together stakeholders from cotton growing regions, including regional commissioners, district commissioners, members of parliament, government officials and ginners, the premier said here yesterday that an era of the 'white gold' can be seen bouncing back.
"I wish to stress the need for all the stakeholders of this precious crop to play your part, to ensure that it regains its lost glory and contributes immensely to the economy," he said.
Anticipated higher harvests aside, however, a greater Source of joy is apparently the agreement between the PM and cotton buyers that will see a kilo of cotton sold at 1200/- this season, up from 1100/-last season with a projected rise to 1500/- in the near future.
Mr Majaliwa said all the issues raised by the ginners and cotton buyers must be addressed on time, tasking the District Executive Directors (DEDs), to issue licenses to the buyers at least a month before the new market season.
Issuing licenses on time was crucial for the buyers to be introduced to the Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS), and buy cotton as soon as the season starts in May every year.
Delay of license issuance was among the issues buyers complained about to the PM as some of the contentious issues, calling on the government to take swift action, in a bid to create a transparent and friendly cotton marketing process.
Another issue, according to the Tanzania Cotton Association (TCA), Chairman Christopher Gachuma, was on money buyers pay to AMCOS and the Cotton Development Trust Fund (CDTF), to facilitate a number of operations related to the cotton value chain.
According to Mr Gachuma, the two receive over 20bn/- each season for a number of tasks but it was feared the funds were not judiciously spent, requesting for a thorough audit.
Delivering a commitment on behalf of the ginners and cotton buyers, Mr Gachuma said despite a number of challenges surrounding the marketing of cotton, buyers will pay 1200/- for each kilo of cotton this season.
"We respect the government position on this season's price and we are ready to offer it. However, we ask for an action on 100/- per kilo allocated to the AMCOS and the CDTF as well as timely issuance of licenses to our members," he said.
The prime minister directed the Registrar of Cooperatives to arrange for an immediate audit of all AMCOS receiving the funds over the last four years and submit a report.
Another directive was on authorities making sure that all the farmers open bank accounts on time, to facilitate payments through them, than had been the case before.