Addressing farmers who attended the 2017 SAGCOT Annual Forum recently in Dar es Salaam, the Executive Secretary of the SAGCOT CTF, Dr John Joel Kyaruzi, urged growers to build crop warehouses to stave off the danger of being conned by dishonest middlemen.
“Storehouses are important elements in the marketing process because they hold crops as producers look for best prices. Without storehouses, peasants are victimised by dishonest middlemen. Growers must appreciate the importance of these houses and build them,” Dr Kyaruzi said.
The official said SAGCOT CTF was taking the shortage of storehouses at the lowest level of production as a critical challenge, adding that it was working together with financial institutions to eliminate the problem.
Kyaruzi named other challenges as peasants’ failure to form strong credible production groups that could be party to contracts; apathy towards storehouses and detaching them from the business process by thinking the structures belonged to and must be built by the government; and the problematic trading system.
He also said farmers needed to access finance to facilitate agricultural production.
Kyaruzi said there are various types of farmers with different needs. Small-scale farmers had problems securing loans, he said, adding that “what we do in such a case is to nurture such peasants by insisting they grow crops as a business venture and warn them that we shall not give them money. Instead, we ask them to enumerate their problems so that we help them to solve all the challenges they face.”
He said under the strategy, the SAGCOT CTF tells banks that “if you cannot give peasants loans, then intervene by building storehouses or invest in other physical infrastructure.”
A member of the SAGCOT CTF board, Eng Mbogo Mfutakamba, said the focus now was on establishing agro-industries so that farmers could have a guaranteed market.
He also said a research was underway on drought resistant crops so that farmers could grow them during dry seasons. He also added that plans were afoot to hold flood waters so that it could later be used for irrigation.
Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, had earlier appealed to delegates in the forum to popularise the use of soya beans.