THE government has directed buyers of agricultural produce countrywide to stop paying farmers in cash, and instead start remitting their payments through bank accounts as a measure to incorporate them into formal financial system.
The order was made here yesterday by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Investment), Angela Kairuki, at the ongoing Nane Nane show, which for the third consecutive year is being held nationally in Simiyu Region.
The minister said this while reading Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa's speech, whom she represented at the show after touring the exhibition and listening to the patrons, mostly farmers, who raised several complaints, including cash payments to them as cotton growers in Simiyu Region.
In response, a senior NMB Bank official, Mr Sospeter Magesse said as part of the bank's participation in revolutionizing cotton cultivation in the country, they have opened 86,000 bank accounts for farmers in Simiyu region to ease their payments and other bank services.
Mr Magesse, who is the NMB Western Zone Manager, further said: "Our fear is that these accounts would remain dormant, because cotton buyers here prefer to pay farmers in cash, which is not a healthy trend for our financial inclusions."
Asking the minister to intervene on this as a way of helping and supporting farmers, he said the bank has been playing an active role in implementing the Simiyu Region- Five-Year Strategic Plan 2019/24 to revolutionize cotton farming through several interventions, including lending stakeholders in the crop's value chain.
According to the manager, one of the outstanding contributions of his bank in the cotton farming and recovery strategy was the provision of 1.9bn/- to repair some damaged silos and other granaries where the crop is stored.
The support will boost efforts in improving the crop cultivation, storage and business in the region that forms one of the top producers in the country.
Cotton cultivation has been one of the leading economic activities in Simiyu Region, which prompted Mr Magesse to mention free education for its farmers, as another role his bank has been offering in the sector.
"We have been educating farmers on financial management through training sessions like the one we have at our pavilion, where members of various Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) in the region have benefited a lot. "We have also managed to bring together and empower 26 AMCOS participating in this programme to revolutionize cotton farming, whose successful implementation would be possible with loans we offer to farmers and their AMCOS," he pointed out.