Reason to smile for maize farmers

Monday January 21 2019

 

By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Maize farmers in Tanzania will be assured of markets after the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) struck an agreement with the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB).

The bank will now be responsible for issuing small credits to farmers while the agency will be responsible for purchasing the crop from farmers before supplying it to markets both domestic and foreign markets.

TADB managing director Japhet Justine said the duo agreed to facilitate the market for the food crop to ensure its sustainability.

“TADB had already issued loans worth over Sh3.4 billion to 22 groups of farmers, a move, which aimed at modernising maize cultivation,” he said.

He added that following increased production last season, the farmers did not get the earnings they had expected,

“TADB partnership with NFRA is looking at finding a lasting solution that would leave our farmers smiling broadly,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the purchase of 36,000 tonnes of maize by the World Food Programme (WFP), a huge consignment of the crop is still in the farmers’ warehouses, therefore as agriculture stakeholders, it is our responsibility to ensure that they are sold,” he said.

Mr Justine pointed out that in a bid to make farmers comfortable and increase efficiency in the agricultural activities the market assurance was crucial.

“TADB will come up with a joint strategy with NFRA that will bring major changes in the maize value chain in the country, this comes in the wake of the last season’s deterioration of the market leading to the decline of the value,” he said.

He pointed out further that through agreements between NFRA and buyers of maize from abroad, TADB will find a guideline of issuing loans to farmers through Smallholder Farmers Credit Guarantee Scheme (SCGS).

He noted that the target was to ensure that the farmers benefit throughout the season.

“The fifth phase government under the leadership of President John Magifuli has expressed its interest in improving the lives of its people especially the less privileged including the farmers, therefore our role here is to make sure that the government’s objective is achieved,” he said.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of NFRA, Ms Vumilia Zikankuba said talks with TADB were important for the farmers.

“NFRA is eying reduced dependency on the government in the execution of its duties, therefore we want to partner with other stakeholders such as TADB to secure funds to store crops and build markets,” she said.

She added that through the agreement entered between the two sides, the NFRA would secure a loan to purchase maize from farmers at a good price and the move would give a market assurance to farmers.