Ruvuma — RULING party CCM Secretary General Daniel Chongolo has directed the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), to speed up the process of purchasing maize in order to allow farmers in the country to proceed with farming activities for the next season.
In line with that, Mr Chongolo directed the agency to prepare and hand him a detailed report today, outlining the procedures they are set to use in purchasing the maize from farmers.
Mr Chongolo made the directives here yesterday when addressing residents of Mbinga Town in Ruvuma region.
He said President Samia Suluhu Hassan has approved 50bn/- to allow the agency to purchase maize from farmers in the country to resolve the crop market crisis.
"The president approved the cash in order to purchase maize from farmers immediately and for that matter, NFRA had the responsibility to embark on the exercise very quickly to enable farmers proceed with farming activities," he said.
He noted that the money provided was not meant for the agency's coffer but for purchasing maize from farmers as planned.
Mr Chongolo's statement comes after being informed by the 'wananchi' at the meeting that NFRA are yet to start the purchase of the maize in Mbinga District, leaving the farmers frustrated.
Farmers in Mbinga also blamed the agency for purchasing maize and other crop products from the business people; a move they said slows down the process of purchasing the maize direct from farmers as directed by the government.
"I have received reports from farmers here complaining that NFRA is purchasing crop products from business people, instead of buying them from farmers directly as directed," he said and reiterated the need for the agency to purchase maize and other crop products from farmers within the country.
Mr Chongolo promised to visit the selling centres in Mbinga today to acquire a report for further actions, saying President Samia directed him to come and see whether the process to purchase the maize from farmers has started.
"The president knows that Mbinga is one of the main places where maize is being grown and she knows how farmers are struggling with farming activities to uplift themselves from poverty ... that is why, she approved funds for the state to purchase maize from farmers," he said.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has approved an additional 50bn/- last month for purchasing maize from farmers in the country, as part of the government's efforts to resolve the crop market crisis.
The good news was announced before the Parliament by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa when adjourning the fourth Parliament meeting
"Purchasing of maize will begin on Monday, (September 13, 2021)... I direct the Ministry of Agriculture to closely supervise the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy the crop from farmers only and from within the country," he said.
In addition, the Prime Minister directed the ministry to increase the number of selling centres in the districts and small towns and continue looking for more markets by finalising new maize procurement agreements with South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe.
The development follows a resolution passed by the Parliament on Thursday, which among other things wanted the government to resolve the maize market crisis, including increasing funds allocated to purchase the cereals.
According to the Prime Minister, the government has also allowed traders to seek overseas markets where export permits are issued through the offices of district commissioners with the aim of keeping records of the amount of maize exported and the level of foreign exchange gained to the country.