Mbozi. The government has warned maize producers against the use of poisonous chemicals for grain preservation in order to protect the health of consumers and build confidence among international buyers.
Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga issued the warning in Mbozi, Songwe Region during a press conference held at the District Commissioner (DC’s) office.
He said the government has started training agricultural stakeholders on the best storage practices of agricultural produce.
According to him government has spent Sh8 billion to build modern silos at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) centre in the Songwe zone in order to increase food reserve capacity.
"No use of chemicals is recommended in the silos that have increased food storage capacity from 17,000 tonnes to 37,000 tonnes of grain produced in Songwe and Mbeya regions” he said.
NFRA chief executive officer Milton Lupa said maize procurement commenced on July 6, 2020 and the response was encouraging.
He said the procurement process was based on the level of grains’ quality and cleanliness, saying Sh550 was the minimum price set per kilo.
Mr Joseph Mkisi, one of maize farmers said the introduction of the Songwe and Mbeya grains purchasing zone was liberation to Southern Highland farmers who have been struggling to get a reliable market for their produce.
For his part, Ms Edina Mengo attributed higher prices of maize preservatives to farmer’s use of hazardous chemicals for grains preservation, something that was a threat to people’s health.