Lawmakers from the cotton producing regions have warned the government that the impending decrease in the price of cotton in the world market is likely to anger the crop growers thus gravely affect the industry.
Speaking at a meeting on cotton sector in Mwanza City recently, the MPs said if measures are not going to be taken to rescue the farmers, they would be outraged.
The MPs explained that speculations on price falling have been worrying farmers to the extent that they would regret their involvement thus pose a threat to the development of the sector.
According to them, the speculations have already influenced the private buyers of cotton to reveal their offer which does not exceed 500/- per kg, nevertheless the price does not promise much to the farmers.
Dr Hamis Kingwangalah (Nzega, CCM) said: “According to statistics, the total number of cotton farmers is 14 million, who exceed the number of people who voted President Jakaya Kikwete to power. Any decision that would seem to annoy them, therefore, will most likely influence their decisions in any coming election.”
He added: “We need to put aside political ideologies and seriously work on the matter otherwise, the 14 million farmers will decide to vote for their own president.”
Addressing the meeting that was launched by Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives minister Christopher Chiza, Bariadi East MP John Cheyo said if the buyers will firmly stand for 500 per kg price, then the country will witness the collapse of the cotton industry very soon.
“I am not sure whether there is anyone among us who can go and tell the farmers that this season’s directive price is 500/- per kg, yet they (farmers) have used much to grow the crop with expectation that the price would at least be 1000/- per kg,” Cheyo warned.
He added that the government should now subsidise cotton farming in order to fill the gap caused by the buyers, a move would see the farmers selling their cotton at not less than 1000/- . In this way, he added production of the crop would be sustained.
For his part, John Shibuda (Maswa West, Chadema) urged the government to come up with concrete remedies such as negotiating with the donors so as to ensure that the farmers are well paid.
“Just go and talk to the members of diplomatic missions who represent their countries and ask them to talk to cotton buyers in their country and see if there is a possibility to increase the price of cotton,” Shibuda said.
“ I personally sat with the South Korea Ambassador and he assured me that despite the decreasing cotton price in the world market his country would increase the price,” he said.