Tanzania: Farmers Get Leeway in Crop Pricing

THE government has assured farmers that it will never interfere with prices of farm produce despite reports of rising maize prices in the country.

Addressing Morogoro residents while on his way to Dodoma, President John Magufuli said his government will never set prices for farm produce instead it will let the market decides.

Dr Magufuli's assurance came amid reports of skyrocketing maize prices with 100 kgs being reportedly sold at 107,000/- up from 65, 000 /- last year.

"The government will never set prices for food crops, since it does not interfere when the prices go down ... it is time for farmers to reap benefits," Dr Magufuli said.

He said farmers have for a long time been complaining about their produce fetching low prices thus it is their turn to benefit from the activities.

"Farmers are free to sell their produce at any price, the government has no plans to interfere with the market forces," Dr Magufuli insisted.

The head of state said farmers' market has expanded to the neighbouring countries like Kenya, South Sudan and Zambia; therefore it is prohibited to set prices for their crops.

"This is famers' windfall... there is no need of complaining about skyrocketing maize prices, you should utilize the opportunity by cultivating variety of crops to reap more profits," he said.

Dr Magufuli further urged farmers in Morogoro to use the ongoing rains by cultivating more crops.

He said that in the past Morogoro was used to be among the major crop producing regions in the country but last year the leading region was Njombe followed by Rukwa and Katavi.

Dr Magufuli, however, directed regional and district leaders to encourage people to work hard to restore the lost glory of the region.

On Tuesday, Ministry of Agriculture's Deputy Permanent Secretary Prof Siza Tumbo challenged researchers to find out why prices for maize were going up while the country has sufficient food.

The country's demand for maize currently stands at 5,462,390 tonnes, leaving a surplus of 810,760 tonnes.

But Prof Tumbo insisted that the government is not considering closing borders to control the sale of Tanzanian maize outside the country as a means of controlling price hikes in the country.

"The country cannot keep closing and opening the borders every now and then. Because the issue is not export but rather how to control the prices," he said.

Meanwhile, President Magufuli directed the National Identification Authority (NIDA) Director General Dr Arnold Kihaule to speed up the process of issuing the national IDs countrywide to enable the citizens to biometrically register their SIM cards.

He said the issuance of the IDs was very slow, tasking the DG to look into the possibilities of moving the service closer to the people.

The head of state summoned the DG to Morogoro to resolve the problem and ensure that the service was accessed from the district level.

"You should come to Morogoro today (on Wednesday) to work on this matter, I don't want to see people from the districts coming to the headquarters for this service," he said.

The president directives followed concerns by Morogoro residents who were forced to travel long distance and spend about three days to get registration numbers.

Dr Magufuli said many people were in need of the service but travelling far distance to access it was wastage of time and resources.

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