Minister warns police on harassing maize farmers

29Apr 2021
The Guardian
Minister warns police on harassing maize farmers

AGRICULTURE minister Prof Aldof Mkenda has warned police officers from harassing and arresting maize traders when taking their crops to the market, saying the situation discourages farmers.

Prof Mkenda issued this caution when touring finger millet farms in Kongwa District, Dodoma Region, expressing intent to consult Inspector General Simon Sirro on the matter.

“There has been a tendency of police officers chasing maize traders when taking their yields to the market. Police are harassing them as if they are transporting narcotic drugs,” said the minister, underlining that such habit should be halted, to avoid discouraging farmers.

“As a country we are facing market problems for our agricultural products including maize, so let farmers sell their crops in markets they prefer. Police officers shouldn’t be part of the many challenges that farmers face.”

The minister asserted that farmers strive to improve their welfare and are also contributing to the country’s economy, noting further that maize farmers have been struggling to get markets for their crops. That means there should be no hindrance in their quest to sell their harvests at preferable markets, he emphasised.

He urged extension officers to continue educating farmers on better farming practices to enable them improve yields. With guidance from agricultural experts, farmers would harvest enough for food and sale, he stated.

“When farmers are assisted with the needed skills at all crop growing stages they will harvest more finger millet and generate a good income,” he declared.

Sagara B village chairman, Gilbert Mlwande thanked the minister for his warning to police officers, saying this affirmation shall revive farmers’ morale to cultivate larger farms in coming seasons. Farmers were always worrying about police when it comes to transporting their crops to the market, he admitted.

“We will now conduct our business peacefully,” he remarked.

District Commissioner Dr Seleman Serera said farmers in the area are ready to engage in finger millet contract farming. They are also happy for decisions to provide them with extension officers because they will cultivate the crops more professionally, he added.

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