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Grains body pleads for Rukwa farmers

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Gangi Longa, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. G

    Gangi Longa Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Joined: Feb 5, 2010
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    11th March 10
    Grains body pleads for Rukwa farmers

    Patrick Kisembo

    The Eastern Africa Grain Council has urged regional leaders to persuade Tanzania to allow Rukwa Region to sell its surplus food to the neighbouring countries.
    The EAGC Director, Ben Moshi told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the body had written to the East African Community requesting that the matter be discussed in detail and solutions on the plight of Rukwa farmers found.
    He said there was no need for the government to prevent farmers from selling their food crops across the border. Doing so would only encourage illegal sales of the same, which in recent years had become rampant.
    "If you go to Kenya now you will be told that 250,000 tonnes of maize entered the country illegally last year. Even the national statistics show this. We know it," he said.
    The Director insisted that by allowing farmers to sell where there was a market, the government would be able to control their activities.
    "Currently it is not easy to control food sales outside the country. The only way to control and monitor such sales is for the government to allow farmers to export through legal channels," he said.
    Dr Moshi said the move would enable farmers not only to access markets, but also encourage them to expand their farms and bring in foreign currency.
    He said the national grain reserve was unable to buy the countrywide surplus food due to small budget allocations.
    "I think the reserve is for disaster management. It is able to buy not more than 120,000 tonnes of grains for the whole country," he said, adding that EAGC sees no reason for the government to ban the sale abroad of the surplus food it cannot afford to buy.
    "We all know that Rukwa produces a lot of food and its infrastructure is very poor making it difficult to transport the surplus out to such places as Dar es Salaam. It is easier for them to sell in Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi," said Dr Moshi.
    "I think the government has to admit that it has failed to offer internal markets and therefore allow farmers to sell what they have toiled to produce, before it rots," he insisted.
    For his part, the Food Security expert from the ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Principal Economist, Onasimbo Thikha clarified that farmers were allowed to sell their produce abroad, insisting that there was no government policy prohibiting farmers from selling food outside the country.
    He said the ban was a normal government directive when there was danger that food would not be enough in the country.
    "These are temporary measures and can be lifted anytime and allow the regions to sell their food anywhere," he added.
    But for Rukwa Region, he said the situation is different. "It is worthwhile to allow Rukwa farmers sell their food outside because of poor infrastructure which hinders moving food from there to such places as Arusha," he echoed the EAGC Director.
    "On the Rukwa issue, the government must see that it has a role to play in allowing the farmers sell their food or offer market opportunities for them so that they would know that there is a market somewhere," he said.
    The experts however said the national reserve depended on the government budget which now can buy only 150,000 tonnes of food mainly maize and sorghum per year.
    "As we speak now, two weeks ago, the reserve had only 60,000 tonnes of food, needing the government to buy the additional 90,000 tonnes to fill the gap. But all depends on financial ability," said Thikha.
    On March 4 this year, this paper reported that over one million tonnes of food crops were in danger of rotting in Rukwa Region following the government decision to ban their export to avert food shortage in the country.
    The stocks are part of 1.6 million tonnes of food crops harvested in the region in the last season, of which only 250,000 are for the farmers' own consumption.
    The Rukwa Regional Commissioner Daniel Ole Njoolay told a Network of Smallholder Farmers (Mviwata) in Mbeya that the National Food Reserve Agency in Rukwa was capable of buying only 40,000 tonnes per year, but the government had increased the amount to 60,000 tonnes.
    This still leaves more than 1.3 million tonnes without an assured local market, now when the government has banned export of food crops.
    "For this season the region expects to produce2.2 million tonnes of food of which 700,000 tonnes are maize, but only 250,000 tonnes are needed by the region…if we will not be assured of a reliable local market, where are we going to sell the remaining 450,000 tonnes of food?" queried Njoolay.
    The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, Dr David Mathayo David expressed doubt over the Rukwa statistics, but promised to send a team of experts from the ministry to check them out.
    On why the government banned exportation of food when it was not able to buy all of it, Dr Mathayo insisted that the government would not change its decision.
    When pressed further on the plight of Rukwa farmers, the minister said the government will look closely into their case.
    "We can not take a decision now. We have to make an evaluation first," insisted the Dr Mathayo.


    15th March 10
    Unpolished rice stockpile in Kilombero warehouses

    Ashton Balaigwa

    About 312 tonnes of unpolished rice are reportedly rotting in Kilombero, and farmers in the district are attributing the loss to the governments ban on the exportation of cereals.
    Speaking to journalists here on Friday, chairman of the association for improving paddy growing in the district (Akirigo) Athuman Ngongowele said that the farmers' group has incurred major losses since the government imposed the controversial ban.
    He said tonnes of unpolished rice were stockpiled in its different warehouses at Kikwawila, Mang'ula A, Katulukila, Sonjo and Mkula villages.
    Ngongowele said they expected to sell the rice at 600/- per kilogram, but currently they fetch only 460/- per kilogram. "This is a big loss because we took loans from the National Microfinance Bank, which are supposed to be paid back by the end of this month," he said.
    According to Ngongowele, if the government would stick to its guns over the ban, the farmers would be forced to sale the unpolished rice at a throw away price for them to at least pay back the loans.
    He explained that in the past season, members of the association took loans amounting to 235m/- from the NMB for implementing the warehouse recipient system through paddy farming, whose harvests came out very well.
    The Akirigo chair person made a passionate appeal to the government to lift the ban to save the farmers from great losses or buy the rice at a price of at least 500/- to help them pay back the loans.

  2. G

    Gangi Longa Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2010
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    Kilimo Kwanza kwa style hii, hatuwatendei haki wakulima! Kama serikali ina madhumuni ya kuzuia njaa, basi wanunue hayo mazao at market price na sio kuzuia kuvushwa nje ya mipaka na kuyaacha yaozee mashambani! :(
  3. Chimunguru

    Chimunguru JF-Expert Member

    Mar 11, 2010
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    Huko Mazao yamefurika, Jana nimeona TBC kuna vijiji huko umasaini watu wanakufa njaa hii nchi ya ajabu jamani. Huko the BIG 4 ( Ruvuma, Mbeya, Iringa na Rukwa) mazao ya mwaka jana bado watu wanayo kwenye maghala hawajayauza mpaka leo na wanauza bei za kutupa. Serikali inachokosea badala ya kujenga barabara za lami huko vijijini mazao yanakopatikana kwa wingi wao wanakula tu pesa na kufanya ziara za nje ya nchi. hakuna mwenye uchungu na mkulima, hiyo kauli mbiu ya kilimo kwanza ni utumbo mtupu