The government has given a grace period of one year for the use of steel yards in the purchase of cotton, the House was told on Tuesday when the government was giving its statement on the use of steelyard vis-à-vis the digital ones.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Christopher Chiza admitted in Parliament that the government through Notice No. 47 of 2012 banned the use of steelyard in the purchase of the crop.
He said the measure was taken after the government was satisfied by auditing done by Weights and Measures Agency (WMA) which established that steelyards can easily be tempered with and the farmers could easily be robbed of their produce.
After the auditing, according to the minister, buyers of cotton through Tanzania Cotton Association (TCA) and Tanzania Cotton Growers Association (TACOGA) were allowed to import weighing scales from on behalf of their members.
The minister said the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) also put conditions in place on purchase permit for cotton buyers to show that they have ordered scales through TCA before embarking on buying the srop.
The country demands a total of 8,000 weighing scales for cotton purchase, but the TCA has only ordered 5,500 of them.
“This is clear that there is shortage of scales that might affect the purchase of cotton and some of the farmers to fail to reach the market,” he said.
Chiza admitted that the trade union had only imported 265 scales against the required 1,053.
The minister said by June this year, only 2,460 scales had been imported as compared to the actual need.
Chiza said after the stakeholders met with the government on June 26, this year, the government agreed on the use of steelyard and digital weighing scales for the financial year 2012/13 only.
He called on the agency and other stakeholders to stick to the agreement and ensure that after the 2012/13 financial year, steelyard will not be applied in the purchased of cotton and other produce.