Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga, said on Tuesday 12,378 cashew nuts farmers were yet to be verified for payment of their crop that they sold to the government.
“The government has failed to meet the deadline for verification and payment of cashew nuts farmers as thousands of growers are yet to be reached,” said Hasunga in an interview with Xinhua.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa last month directed that the verification and payment of cashew nuts farmers should be concluded by February 15, 2019.
Hasunga said a total of 12,378 cashew nuts farmers with more than 1,500 kilos each were yet to be verified.
Hasunga said the government has so far paid 216 million U.S. dollars in total, out of the verified cashew nuts worth 234 million U.S. dollars.
“We are done with verification of those with less than 1,500 kilos each. To date, we have paid 411,961 cashew nuts growers,” said Hasunga, adding that the verification teams were working round the clock to reach every farmer.
The minister said the government has so far bought 222,160 tonnes of the cash crop, adding that the country’s cashew nuts production projection for the 2018-2019 season was 240,000 tonnes of raw cashews.
“The government is determined to buy all the cashew nuts. I am currently touring cashew nuts growing regions of Mtwara, Lindi and Coast to observe progression of the verification exercise,” he said.
President John Magufuli had directed that all cashew nuts consignments brought up for sale must have been verified by January 31.
The government announced to extend the deadline for verification and payment exercise to cashew nuts farmers from February 5 to February 15.
The verification exercise was introduced after the government was suspicious of some unscrupulous traders who would have bought the cashew nuts before they were harvested.
In November 2018, President Magufuli had said that the government would purchase all cashew nut stocks from farmers through the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank.
This was after cashew nuts farmers had rejected prices offered by dealers, which were very much lower than the previous harvest season’s prices. Enditem