Tanzania: PM Summons Cashew Board Over Unpaid Dues
December 28, 2016
Prime Minister KassimMajaliwa yesterday demanded to be told why cashew nut farmers had still not been paid for crop that had been delivered to buyers. A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said MrMajaliwa would summon Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania (CBT) officials to explain why payments had been delayed, contrary to government directives. The Prime Minister was addressing Lindi regional leaders at Nachingwea State Lodge during a stopover while on his way his Ruangwa Constituency for a short break. "I want the CBT chairman to tell me what is happening...our problem is that we didn't supervise this exercise properly. We were supposed to satisfy ourselves first that all buyers had complied with our directives before they were allowed to take part in auctions."
CBT chairman Hassan Jarufu could not be immediately reached for comment, but sources in Lindi and Mtwara regions confirmed that farmers' cooperative unions were supposed to be paid immediately after auctions. "It's a blame game because cooperative union officials point an accusing finger at banks, which deny any wrongdoing...we are totally confused," said a source in Mtwara, who asked not to be named.
Addressing a public rally in Nachingwea District on October 16, MrMajaliwa said he had directed CBT to ensure buyers made a 25 per cent advance payment to prevent auctioneers from monopolising sales. He directed LindiRegional Commissioner Godfrey Zambi and district commissioners to encourage farmers to planted new seedlings to replace old cashew trees as part of efforts to improve yields. In another development, MrMajaliwa commended Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries minister Charles Tizeba for his decision to disband the Cashew Nut Industry Development Trust Fund (CIDTF). He directed Dr Tizeba to also crack down on other funds responsible for the development of crops such as sisal, tea and coffee and transfer their responsibilities to their respective boards.
"Dr Tizeba has taken a step in the right direction. He should cast the net wider so that the money management teams pay themselves as allowances is used instead to assist farmers in their areas," he said. The government has disbanded CIDTF for, among other irregularities, operating a Sh5 billion fixed deposit account, contrary to a presidential directive. The fund's responsibilities have been transferred to CBT. Dr Tizeba told a news conference that CIDTF was a "total failure" despite having existed for six years. The fund was established to spearhead cashew nut value addition to enable growers earn more from the crop while setting the base for local processing.