Agricultural bank, NFRA team up to rescue maize small-scale farmers

21Jan 2019
The Guardian Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Agricultural bank, NFRA team up to rescue maize small-scale farmers

TANZANIA Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) in partnership with the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has signed an agreement to ensure that maize farmers in the country have access of reliable market for the crop.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), Vumilia Zikankuba (L) exchange ideas over the weekend with the Managing Director of the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB), Japhet Justine after winding up a meeting which was aimed at strengthening maize value chain to empower small-scale farmers get reliable market of the crop. Photo: Guardian Correspondent.

Speaking to journalist shortly after winding up a meeting with the Agency in question, the Managing Director of TADB, Japhet Justine said the duo agreed to facilitate the market for the food crop to ensure sustainability.

“TADB had already dished out over 3.4bn/- to 22 groups of farmers in a move aimed at modernizing cultivation of maize, there for through this meeting we have seen the need to give farmers a market assurance,” he said.

He added that following the increased production in the last season, the market for the crop in question depreciated, adding that the TADB partnership with NFRA in finding a lasting solution to the matter would give a hope of better days ahead.

“Not withstanding the purchase of 36,000 tons of Maize by the World Food Programme (WFP) the huge consignment of the crop is still in the farmers’ warehouses, therefore as agriculture stakeholders is our responsibility to ensure that the market is available,” he said.

President John Magufuli had recently witnessed the signing of crucial agreement of purchasing maize at the State House in Dar es Salaam between the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and WFP.

Justine pointed out that in a bid to make farmers comfortable and increase efficiency in the agricultural activities the market assurance is crucial.

“TADB will come up with a joint strategy in collaboration with NFRA that will bring major changes  in the maize value chain in the country, this comes in the wake of the last season’s deterioration of the market leading to decline of the value,” he said.

He pointed out further that through agreements between NFRA and buyers of maize from abroad, TADB will find a guideline of issuing loans to farmers through Smallholder Farmers Credit Guarantee Scheme (SCGS).

He noted that the target was to make sure that a farmer is benefitting throughout the season in a bid to recover costs and improve standards of living.

“The fifth phase government under the leadership of President John Magifuli has expressed its interest in improving lives of its people especially the less privileged especially farmers, therefore our role here is to make sure that the government’s objective is achieved,” he said.

For his part,  the Acting Chief Executive Officer of NFRA, Vumilia Zikankuba said talks with TADB were vital and good, adding that the agreements reached would go a long way in providing sufficient market.

“NFRA is eying reduced dependency to the government in the execution of its duties, therefore we want to partner with agriculture stakeholders such as TADB to secure funds to store crops and build markets,” she said.

She pointed out that through the agreement entered between the two sides, the NFRA would secure a loan to purchase maize from farmers at a good price and the move would give a market assurance to farmers.

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