Markets fail tomato farmers, loans unpaid

24Dec 2017
George Tarimo
Guardian On Sunday
Markets fail tomato farmers, loans unpaid

The chairman of the board of Mazombe Saccos in Iringa region, Yohana Mwemutsi has said a number of its members have failed to repay their loans due to economic hardships experienced in the country this year.

The SACCOS chairman was speaking yesterday at the just ended 16th annual general meeting where he said members had failed to get reliable markets for their agricultural produces.

“Many members have failed to get markets for their produces like tomatoes and maize, which has impacted on their loans repayment,” he said.

Such produces were the main pillars of economic activity among the majority of members in the district, where they had invested the loaned funds.

Mwemutsi said most farmers in the district depended on tomato farming, but the produce had failed to attract buyers.

“We have experienced a drop in the price of tomatoes to Sh2,000 a saddle from Sh45,000 in previous years which has further led to a sharp drop in their incomes.

Mazombe Saccos was initiated in order to create a better business environment in the district for the public to access finances at low interest rates.

“We need to better ensure that the lives of the people are improved, which will in turn increase both production and income,” he asserted.

Mazombe Saccos manager Long'ino Ngwada said despite the challenges in tomato farming lacking markets, they plan to get assistance from USAID to help them with tomato storage facilities.

“The project would cost over Sh400m,” he said. Noting that a survey conducted in the region on tomatoes revealed there were few tomato processing in the region compared to production efforts.