Speaking at Dumila township in Morogoro Region where he stopped while on his way to Dodoma, the Head of State instead challenged Tanzanians who complain about high prices to stop the talk and venture into farming.
He said that as son of a farmer, he understands how laborious it is to farm and finally harvest, noting that any interference with pricing will be unfair to farmers.
“If prices of maize are too high for you, go farm yours,” he said. The president vowed that it does not make sense that the farmer hustles with tilling the land, taking care of the crops, spending money on inputs and harvesting only for the selling price to be capped.
This stance comes after Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Prof Siza Tumbo on Wednesday challenged researchers to find out why the price of maize has been skyrocketing at a time when Tanzania has enough food reserves.
The deputy PS raised concern that urban dwellers were already complaining because the 100-kilo sack now sells at 107,000/- which is a substantial increase from 65,000/- last year, further noting that if nothing is done, the price might reach unaffordable levels come February next year - as prices of maize normally go up during February.
But the president said yesterday that the government will keep a wide berth when it comes to matters price of farm produce - which should only be determined by forces of demand and supply.
“I want to be very clear on this: days of capping prices of farmers’ produce are long gone. That will not happen during my presidency,” he asserted.
He said while the news of price hikes is bad for consumers, it is actually very good news for farmers whose joy should not be ended in order to satisfy complaining consumers.
“Those of you who want low prices for maize, rice, water melon and others, it’s currently raining and you know what to do — start farming,” he said, pointing a finger at “those who are employed in office jobs.”
As for the farmers, the Head of State encouraged them to keep on farming even more and make more money while prices are still high.n another development, the president ordered that 11 buildings belonging to the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) at Dumila be converted into a health centre.
He promised that medicines, equipment and staff would follow.