Financial institutions told to reduce interest rates, support farmers

22Jan 2021
Gerald Kitabu
Tanga
The Guardian
Financial institutions told to reduce interest rates, support farmers

BANKS and other financial institutions have been urged to support sisal farmers and processors by reducing interest rates so that many people can be attracted to loans.

Issuing directives after discussions with sisal crop stakeholders at a conference he convened in Tanga region on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said many people would like to secure loans from banks and financial institutions to fully engage and develop the sisal crop but they are being annoyed by high interest rate.

The sisal stakeholders conference brought together stakeholders from farmers, investors, processors, banks, financial institutions, the private sector, researchers, academicians, etc to discuss the achievements, challenges and the way forward of sisal development.

He said banks and financial institutions are the main stakeholders in agriculture therefore they have a key role to play in the contribution of the crop’s development.

The prime minister urged the farmers to open bank accounts so that it can be easier to deposit their money and other transactions saying without opening bank accounts, it will be difficult for the farmers to even secure loans.

He directed all district councils to identify and understand all farmers in the villages, their acreage, and prepare a data base.

“I direct district councils that you should also identify and prepare data base of all farms and lands that were acquired but are not used for a long time,” he aid.

“Farmers should form groups and associations. The associations should be recognised, registered and closely supervised. We want to see active associations so that it can be easier to work with them in the development of the crop, he added.

He directed the district council to review crop cess, laws and put in place good and friendly crop cess that can help to promote small holder farmers,” he said.

He directed sisal board to work very closely with TARI to ensure production and dissemination of the improved seedlings.

“We want to see a competent sisal board. The board should also work on title deeds of assets and properties such as houses, farms,” he added.

The Prime Minister commended TARI for good work of research and production of improved seeds saying all other stakeholders like sisal board should work closely with TARI to succeed.

Earlier on, different stakeholders were invited for presentations but some of their main concerns were lack of loans from banks and financial institutions due to lack of collateral.

Members of parliament in different constituencies in Tanga regions said that there is a need for the financial institutions to lower down interest rates, investment in processing industries and revoke title deeds of the large farms that are not used so that ordinary people who want to farm sisal can use them.

They also said the farmers can only develop if they will be trained on agricultural best practices and secure good local and international markets.

“There is a need to make regular audit to all farmers associations and cooperatives so that they can be able to qualify to access the money from banks and other financial institutions, said a Member of Parliament Dunstan Kitandula. 

TARI Director General Dr Geoffrey Mkamilo said through the Ministry of Agricuture, TARI will increase production of seedlings through tissue culture to 10 million seedlings per annum.

TARI Mlingano centre Director Dr Catherine Senkoro explained that in 2019, Tanzania earned 11.7bn/- from sisal.

“TARI is planning to increase production of improved seedlings, for example, we shall work very closely with district council to produce one million seedlings per annum,” said Dr Senkoro.

 To ensure sustainable development of the sisal crop, TARI has embarked on production of more improved seeds especially hybrid 11648, awareness creation and provision of education to thousands of farmers and agro-extension officers among many other plans and strategies, said Dr Mkamilo.

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