Friday, December 8, 2017

Farmers still kept in suspense

Cashew nut farmers wait for their turns to sell

Cashew nut farmers wait for their turns to sell their products through the auction system in Mtwara recently. PHOTO|FILE 

By Gadiosa Lamtey and Gladys Mbwiga

        Dar es Salaam. Agriculture stakeholders have raised their concerns over the delay in launching of the Tanzania Commodities Exchange, saying it is causing them unnecessary sufferings at the hands of middlemen in the marketing of their harvests.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, the chairman for Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT), Dr Sinare Sinare said the Commodities Exchange was viewed as a lasting solution to challenges facing farmers who are being exploited by middle men who leap what they did not sow

“The Commodities Exchange was supposed to start its operation since last year, but to-date, things are not moving,” he said during a two-day workshop that brought together members of the council with the aim of discussing markets and policies.

He said countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia have already introduced their Commodities Markets their farmers were enjoying.

The Commodities Market was established under the Commodity Exchange Act 2015. It was initially meant to open for business in May last year (2016) but it was later postponed to September. The enactment of the Act saw launch of a company known as Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TCX) which was entrusted with the mandate of linking farmers with local and international markets as well as increasing transparency in agricultural transactions.

The TCX acting chief executive officer, Mr Godfrey Malekano told The Citizen on Wednesday that the Commodities Exchange Market was ready and that it would soon start its operations, noting however that it was facing a challenge of the availability of warehouses where farmers’ yields would be kept as they await to be sold at the exchange. He said already seven crops including sesame, sunflower, rice, soya, maize, cashew and peas but most of them have no warehouses.

“We are working together with other government bodies including those dealing with Warehouse Receipts to see how we can sensitize farmers and administrative secretaries within the districts so that we can perfect the system when it gets off…So far, we have at least five commercial banks and several brokers are willing to working with us,” he said.

Mr Malekano said actual trading activities will be conducted ‘soon’ after getting the necessary approvals from the regulator, adding that everything was dependent on the availability of crops. He added the buyers are ready and available but the challenge is crops that are to be approved for trading at the market.

Initially, he said, the plan was to start with cashew nuts but later, the government decided to cancel it and told them to start with other crops.