The government is yet to start providing subsidy for farm inputs to tobacco growers due to a meager budget, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives told the National Assembly yesterday.
Responding to a question posed by Lupa legislator Victor Mwambalaswa (CCM), Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Adam Malima said the government would continue to sensitize farmers through their cooperatives to buy fertilizer through loans provided by commercial banks.
“This is a good and sustainable system which will enable farmers to ensure the application of inputs accordingly and build their capacity, and it will also be applied to other crops which currently get subsidy," he said.
Malima said the government has been providing seed and pesticides subsidy to cotton through the reduction of price, adding that the move had assisted farmers to get seeds and pesticides and hence increased production.
Giving the example of cotton, he said the production of the crop had increased from 163,644 tonnes in 2010/2011 to 225,938 tonnes during the 2011/2012 season.
He said the main challenge facing the government in the smooth provision of subsidy to cotton was the low quality of the inputs (seeds and pesticides).
The minister said the government would take stern measures against all companies found selling substandard seeds and pesticides, adding that the government convened regular meetings with them to emphasizes on quality.
In his basic question, Mwambalaswa had wanted to know when the government would start issuing to the tobacco crop. He said the government had done a lot for other crops and was already dishing out subsidy to cotton.