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  • Crop boards should pay for losses

    May 6th, 2016

    Prime Minister Majaliwa told parliamentarians here yesterday that those cashewnut farmers, who lost their crops while in storage, must question the cooperative leadership and prosecute them in courts of law if the answers are not satisfactory. Prime Minister Mjaliwa was responding to a supplementary question from Tandahimba legislator, Katani Ahamed Katani (CUF), who wanted to know if the government was ready to refund farmers who lost their crops while in storage, claiming the government has put up small security bond.

    The premier said the system currently in operation was not managed by the central government but by cooperative societies, whose leadership is elected by the farmers who are the members of the societies.

    He concurred that there was poor leadership in cooperative societies managing the cashewnut crop, but stressed that the central government is now keen on ensuring the farmer and the government benefits from the crop.

    "All farmers who suffered losses of crops must hold their primary cooperatives such as Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) and others responsible and if need be, they must take them to court so the law can take its course," he explained.

    Mr Majaliwa said the courts will take the cooperatives leaders to task for abusing their authorities to make farmers suffer loses, stressing that the same should done to other crops such as coffee, tobacco and cotton.

    "All these cash crops will be managed under a system that we want to ensure is profitable to farmers and the government in general, this includes removal of unnecessary levies," Prime Minister Majaliwa said.

    Responding to the legislator during impromptu question session to the premier, where he wanted to know when the government would remove 15 per cent market levy collected from farmers, Prime Minister Majaliwa said the government has decided to remove all unnecessary levies.

    "The taxes including the 15 per cent market levy were put in place to disrupt a good system that was meant to help farmers profit from their crop, resulting to the farmers hating the very system that was meant to help them make profit through the cashewnut crop," he said noting that the 15 per cent market levy was however on purchasing of packaging material.

    "We have also scrapped this levy because the responsibility purchasing packaging material such as sacks will be under the Cashew Industry Development Trust Fund (CIFDTF) which is responsible with development of the crops," the Premier stressed.

    The premier said the CIFDTF whose contribution was mainly from export levy (65 per cent) of the cashewnut crop, is well equipped to meet objectives put in place by stakeholders including inputs sourcing and distribution, training and extension services, supporting small and medium processors and supporting cashew research activities.

    CIFDTF also is tasked with strengthening the cashew marketing system and investment planning whereby it is currently embarking on establishing three new cashewnut processing factories.

    The premier assured the MPs that the crop is now in the safe hands of the CIFDTF, stressing that all the taxes have been removed.