News From Parliament
- Published on Sunday, 22 July 2012 03:53
- Written by MASEMBE TAMBWE in Dodoma
- Hits: 391
THE Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Adam Malima said the agriculture sector is being strangled tightly by syndicates and government should do away with them by increasing the number of crop buyers.
Winding up his speech after receiving contributions from MPs, Malima said his ministry will place emphasis on cash crops particularly coffee, tobacco, sugar and cotton.
“There are only three buyers of tobacco with one buying 60 per cent of what is produced, another takes 30 per cent and the last 10 per cent. This also applies to sugar, our biggest problem is that we don’t have a liberal market in agriculture,” he said.
He said that there are a number of imperfections that need to be addressed because it simply does not make sense that sugar from San Antonia costs 1200/- per kilo yet the sugar from Mtibwa in Morogoro costs 2000/- per kilo.
He said although there is a lot of grumbling going on, government could intervene by either increasing the number of producers or remove the protection the buyers supposedly enjoy. “Let’s take the case of rice. It goes without saying that the culinary tastes of many Tanzanians have changed and the demand for rice is directly affecting inflation,” he said.
He said that government plans to make deliberate market interventions whereby food traders will have to sell at agreed prices. Regarding the issue of agricultural boards, the Deputy Minister promised more supervision and that action would be taken if a board is being seen as an obstacle to development.
Mr Malima said that there was good news to millet growers in the country where researchers have released a new seed variety which is able to produce more, from two tonnes per hectare to eight tonnes per hectare.
“During this financial year we will lay emphasis on sunflower growing because we want to minimise importation of edible oil by at least half, currently we import 200,000 tonnes annually,” he said.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Engineer Christopher Chiza received 137 contributions for his budget speech and agreed that his budget was inadequate. He agreed that there was a lot of bureaucracy in the issuing of licenses and those investigations clearly show that there is a communication breakdown between the boards and farmers.
“This year we will keep an open eye on cooperatives because we want them to operate for the people who are members,” he said.