TANZANIA – The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) Sumbawanga Zone Office plans to spend 4.5bn/- (US$1.8M) to almost double the tonnes of maize to be purchased from 27,000 to 50,000 tonnes during this purchasing season as the country builds on food reserve stocks.
NFRA Sumbawanga Zone Manager, Mr Marwa Range said that the tonnage surpasses the intended purchase when the season started on June 2, adding that the food agency has already purchased 28,000 tonnes for 2.5bn/- (US$1M).
“The tonnage of maize has been increased to 22,000 tonnes, which means during this maize purchasing season about 50,000 tonnes of maize will be purchased for 4.5bn/-,” Marwa said.
Mr Marwa also revealed that the purchase would entail 40,000 tonnes of maize in the Rukwa region and 10,000 tonnes in the Katavi region which are served by the Sumbawanga Zone Office.
He further explained the discrepancies in prices between the two regions. According to him, in Rukwa, a kilogram of maize is sold at 900/- in urban and 800/- in rural areas, while in Katavi region a kilogram of maize is sold at 950/- in Mpanda maize buying center and 900/- at Kibaoni buying center.
Marwa, however, highlighted that the set prices are a boost to farmer’s earnings, considering that in the last season, the food reserve agency purchased a kilo of maize at 650/- in urban and 600/- in rural areas in both Rukwa and Katavi regions.
Earlier, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa had revealed that the government through NFRA has set aside 320bn/- to buy grains to maintain food security in the country.
He said the government has been improving food storage infrastructure by prioritizing warehouses and cold room constructions, to preserve both non-perishable and perishable food such as cereals as well as vegetables and fruits respectively.
CPB purchases 35,000 tonnes of crops from farmers
Meanwhile, the Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) has purchased 35,000 tonnes of various crops from farmers countrywide in this year’s harvesting season.
John Maige, CPB’s acting director unveiled this while speaking to journalists at the Nanenane Agricultural Exhibition at John Mwakangale Exhibition Grounds.
Maige said the crops bought include maize, rice, sunflower, and beans. He said this year, CPB plans to spend about 100bn/-, adding that so far it has already spent 29bn/-.
“We are still buying the crops at our various buying centers in Iringa, Arusha Dodoma, Sumbawanga, Songea, and Tunduma,” he said.
He also used the occasion to welcome members of the public to visit their pavilion to see and get various products that have already been processed.
He said after the exhibition, the CPB products will continue to be available at their offices in the Southern Highlands Zone at Iringa, Lake Zone (Mwanza), Northern Zone (Arusha), Central Zone (Dodoma) and Eastern Zone (Dar es Salaam).
Maige further said the Board plans to boost its business activities by buying farmers; crops, adding value to them, and then reselling them in both local and foreign markets. Among the board’s products are sembe flour, wheat flour, and even rice which have undergone processing using modern technology,” he added.
“Our products are of high quality because we adhere to East Africa quality standards.
For his part, CPB Director, Nicomed Bohay said that by so doing, the Board aims to solve farmer’s market challenges.