By Haika Kimaro
Masasi — Cashew nut growers blame cooperative unions for the delay of their payments.
The farmers accuse the cooperatives of cheating them as cashew nuts delivered at the end of the season (October last year) were sold in December when the prices had fallen denying them with better terms of payment.
Speaking to The Citizen, one farmer, Mr Ibrahim Chama from Namikunda Village said he took his cashew nuts to Namikupa warehouse in November and has yet to be paid by Mumbasa Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (Amcos).
"When I and fellow growers demand our payments we are given flimsy excuses. To make matters worse Masasi- Mtwara Cooperative Union, (Mamcu) is not of any help," he said.
Another farmer, Mr Araphat Said pleaded for the government to intervene as the warehouses where the cooperative unions stored the nuts are empty.
"We principally want to know why cashew nuts delivered in October when price was more than Sh3,000 should be sold in December when prices had dropped to Sh2,650. We want to be paid the rate as to when the nuts were taken to the ware houses," he said.
The Mumbasa Amcos secretary, Mr Imani Suya said Mamcu was to blame.
"We have issued payments for 700 tonnes out of 1,100 tonnes we gathered. Payment for the remaining crop is yet to be done by Mamcu that claims to have failed to sell the cashew nuts," he said.
Chimana Amcos secretary Ahmad Milanzi said his union had collected 719,000 kilogrammes of cashew nuts which was currently down to 357,081 kgs.
Approximately 92,597 kilos were sold but payment was yet to be made and that 269,322 kgs were yet to be sold.
Ndanda MP Cecil Mwambe has pleaded with the government to solve the problem. "Relevant authorities have not carried out their duties. The difference between actual amounts sold and invoices raised is rather wide. It is high time the government intervened, "said Mr Mwambe.