Shareholders of oldest farmers’ body to receive dividends at last

TFA managing director, Mr Justine Shirima. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The dividends will be paid to the shareholders anytime in the current financial year of the association which began in October 2023 to September next year

Arusha. Shareholders of the Tanganyika Farmers' Association (TFA), one of the oldest agricultural institutions in the country, will soon start getting dividends.

This will be the first time for the shareholders of the Arusha-based farmers body established in the 1930s, to get the sum.

The dividend will be paid to the shareholders anytime in the current financial year of the association which began in October 2023 to September next year.

"We could not pay a dividend in the past because we were operating at losses,” said the TFA managing director, Mr Justine Shirima.

The 88 year old farmers' body with branches across the country was also grappling with high operating costs amid little earnings.

According to him, TFA currently has approximately 4,800 shareholders who have been yearning to get a slice of what they invested in the business entity.

Mr Shirima insisted that dividends will soon be paid to the shareholders given the promising state of accounts of the struggling association.

Through cost cutting measures, management has strived hard to reduce losses from Sh11.3 billion three years ago to an estimated Sh1.49 billion losses projected for this year.

TFA gets much of its earnings from rented buildings - mostly in Arusha - sale of agricultural inputs and machinery to the farmers.

The association's capital assets are currently estimated to be worth Sh52.1 billion, Mr Shirima told a recent meeting of shareholders.

The announcement that TFA will finally start to pay dividends to its shareholders followed queries raised by some of its members during the meeting.

Two of them, Eugenia Kweka and John Mbaga expressed their dissatisfaction with the management, alleging that they were responsible for huge losses incurred each year.

"We don't see any need to be shareholders of an entity which is making losses each coming year. We are not getting anything while senior managers continue to enjoy huge perks,” they pointed out.

Speaking at the meeting convened at the TFA Complex in Arusha, board director Mr Waziri Barnabas said the association will soon expand its business in order to reach out to more clients.

These, he said, will include opening new branches in four regions - Kigoma, Rukwa, Mwanza and Singida - next year.

Other branches are found at Makambako in Njombe region,Mbinga (Ruvuma), Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Mafinga, Manyara, Mbeya, Mbozi, Karatu and Babati and Katesh (in Manyara).

TFA was established in the 1930s to support farmers with appropriate inputs and tools.

Its members are both smallholder and large scale commercial farmers, villagers, government estates, cooperative societies, farm input suppliers and individuals, among others.

The organization's assets include office blocks, godowns, residential houses and commercial farms.