The Coronavirus pandemic negatively affected crops' prices as most foreign private buyers were under lockdown, member of the Central Committee of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Kassim Majaliwa has disclosed.
Addressing a public rally at Uhuru Stadium in Bukoba Municipal Council on Monday, Premier Majaliwa said the Covid-19 affected almost all cash crops, including coffee, cotton, tea, cashew nuts and tobacco.
"While a kilogramme of cashew nuts was sold at 3,000/- before the pandemic, the price dropped to 1,800/- per kilogramme, while a kilogram of cotton dropped from 1,200/- to 850/-," he said.
He noted that the government was committed to ensure that farmers in the country enjoy the fruit of their labor and are paid their money, saying the system used by Cooperative Unions and Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) was guaranteed, and appealed to farmers to be patient as foreign private buyers had shown interest of buying Tanzanian coffee after the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The Unions delayed selling the coffee, and this resulted in late payment to the farmers."
However, the government is ready to bail out the Unions through the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), who will issue loans to the Unions to pay the farmers.
The PM said private buyers and companies were allowed to buy coffee through Cooperative Unions and Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS, but they should offer attractive and competitive prices.
He appealed for unity and cooperation, noting that peace was paramount, and urged them to re-elect the CCM presidential candidate, Dr John Magufuli.
"Tanzanians should not make a mistake during the October 28 General Election.... CCM is the only party that has the capacity to implement development projects listed down in the party's manifesto, " he said.
Expounding, Mr Majaliwa said during the past five years (2015-2020), under President Magufuli, Tanzania has won international fame through implementation of people-oriented projects.
He elaborated that health facilities increased from 7014 in 2015 to 8783 in 2020, while dispensaries increased from 6044 (2015) to 8783 (2020), health centres increased from 718 (2015) to 1205 in 2020.
District Council Hospitals also increased from 77 in 2015 to 148 (2020), including 71 new hospitals.
"The government also constructed ten regional hospitals, including Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Hospital in Mara Region which was stalled since 1970.