Due to this, NFRA has been compelled to construct new storage facilities in Songea, Katavi and Arusha regions.
The year 2015 was good for NFRA because the funds that will be used to construct the new storage facilities have already been secured from the government of Poland, said NFRA’s Chief Executive Officer, Charles Walwa.
Presently, a total of US$55 million (about 121bn/-) has been granted to the Tanzanian government so NFRA can begin to erect the storage facilities in those areas beginning this financial year.
“We express thanks to the government of Poland for their financial support in financing the storage capacity expansion project and right now the agreement between the Tanzanian government and that of Poland has been signed,” he says.
In 2015, the agency managed to procure a 27,936.7 square metres plot in Arusha, seven acres of land in Ruvuma Region and two plots with a total of 3,000 square meters in Mpanda to be used for construction of new storage facilities.
Construction of the storage facilities will increase the storage capacity from 246,000 to 446,000 metric tonnes, Walwa observes.
Highlighting on the number of grain reserves built in the country last year so far and the costs involved, he said, in the financial year 2015/2016, the agency began to construct one storage facility with a capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes in Mbozi District, Mbeya Region.
Last year, NFRA had an opening stock of 189,493.694 metric tonnes of grains and managed to buy 305,511.320 tonnes more to hit the 495,014 tonnes mark.
The stock was enough for relief programmes and stabilisation of supply to regions with food shortage throughout the year, Walwa said, adding that the major challenge was storage facilities leading to part of the stock being stored outside using recommended technologies.
Presently, NFRA owns 33 storage facilities with the total capacity of 246,000 tonnes, he said noting that after the analysis that showed that more storage facilities were required, the agency conducted an inventory to identify existing storage facilities from village to national levels so as to store all the purchased stocks.
“Right now some stock is stored at NFRA storage facilities and the remaining is stored on hired warehouses, while part of the stock is also stored outside using recommended technologies.”
Major milestones made by the agency during the year included procurement of 305,511.320 tonnes of grains, equivalent to 109 per cent of the grain procurement annual target. , NFRA also created temporary jobs for more than 5,000 youths and women who were involved in procurement, quality control, cleaning and packaging.
Other achievements were the agency’s offering of a competitive market price of 500/- per kg of grain that helped to increase the income of farmers and traders involved in the buying of crops as well as crop-cess payment, which increased revenues of district councils involved in the procurement work.
Beside, the agency also involved private sectors, agents, farmers’ groups, and other organizations such as saccos/amcos in the procurement that enabled NFRA to meet its grain purchase targets within a short time and construction of a storage facility at Mbozi with of capacity of 5,000 tonnes.
The main challenges NFRA encountered during the year included inadequate storage capacity and facilities, lack of investment funding and use of outdated technology that hindered it to operate more effectively.
“At the moment, NFRA is at the last stage of the preparation of the capacity expansion project that will increase the storage capacity from the current 246,000 tonnes to 446,000 tonnes by the year 2017,” Walwa told The Banker in a recent interview.
On financing, he said the funds currently provided to NFRA were not enough since they meet only part of working capital requirements and recurrent expenses.
The agency has made efforts and secured credit from CRDB Bank to facilitate its operations especially during the procurement period.
The 35bn/- loan was used to pay farmers who supplied it with maize,