ON Friday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced in Parliament that President Samia Suluhu Hassan approved the release of 50bn/- to be used in purchasing maize from farmers through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
President Samia’s decision, according to Prime Minister Majaliwa, seeks to resolve the crisis that maize growers are facing in the country, having recorded bumper in the just ended harvest season.
Delivering the speech to adjourn the Parliamentary meeting Premier Majaliwa said President Samia resolved to act swiftly to the concerns raised by maize growers.
According to the Prime Minister, purchasing of maize will begin tomorrow and the Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to closely supervise the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy the crop from farmers only and from within the country.
Prime Minister Majaliwa also directed the ministry to increase the number of selling centres in the districts and small towns and continue looking for more markets by finalising new maize procurement agreements with South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe.
The development follows a resolution passed by the Parliament on Thursday, which among other things wanted the government to resolve the maize market crisis, including increasing funds allocated to purchase the cereals.
Kilolo Member of Parliament, Justine Nyamoga, on Thursday, moved a private motion in Parliament, asking the government to intervene in the maize market crisis, as farmers had nowhere to sell their produce.
For years residents from southern highland regions, such as Iringa, Ruvuma, Mbeya, Njombe, Katavi and Rukwa, have been depending on maize to earn their living.
The produce has, throughout the ages, been serving as cash and food crop for the farmers, meaning that failure to get reliable market makes their hard.
For those who are much aware of the life of residents from maize growing regions will no doubt agree that to such people maize is life, meaning that lack of reliable market for the crop has been seriously affecting their economic activities and their life in general.
If one looks at how 50bn/- will benefit farmers, they may agree that the amount of cash dished out by President Samia is indeed significant and will no doubt contribute towards improving their lives.
The allocation of 50bn/- for maize purchase is a breath of fresh air for farmers in the southern highlands zone and President Samia must be congratulated for her swift decision.