Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda yesterday said that the problem of shortage of markets and prices for cash crops like cashew nuts and cotton can only be resolved by strengthening local industries.
The premier said that it is difficult to have control over the prices and markets of such crops since they largely depend on international trends, especially cashew nuts which to depends on the Indian market.
Pinda was responding to a direct question from Hai legislator Freeman Mbowe who had wanted to know measures being taken by the government to address problem facing cashew nut growers such as markets, delays in payment and unreliable supply of inputs.
The lawmaker, who is also Leader of Opposition in the Parliament, said during the recent tour of his party, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), in different constituencies in Mtwara and Lindi regions, the main outcry was the problem of unreliable markets and delays in payment of farmers’ dues.
The areas include Mtwara Rural and Urban, Tandahimba, Nanyumbu, Newala, Lulindi Masasi in Mtwara region and Lindi Urban, Mtama Mchinga and Ruangwa in Lindi region.
He said the problem of markets was not only facing cashew nut growers, but also growers of other crops like cotton.
“When it happens that the prices of these crops in the international markets have dropped, it automatically affects our crops because they largely depend on external markets,” explained Pinda.
The premier added, “We cannot say that the government can address this problem directly… we must admit that this is a challenge, as our crops depend largely on international markets, the proper solution to it is to strengthen our local industries so that we can have reliable markets for our crops.”
Pinda said that the government had already started taking measures to address the problems, including the selling of cashew nuts which had piled up in warehouses and the money which was obtained was used to pay farmers who were yet to be paid.
He said that the government was also working on the possibilities of getting funds from the commercial bank so that they could be disbursed to cooperatives so that they could pay farmers directly.
The premier said that the problem of inputs was being addressed by responsible authorities and he expects that the problems would be resolved as soon as practical.