TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has issued a new directive barring non-local firms in the country from buying agriculture produce directly from farmers but to make the purchases through auctions and authorised local markets.
“We are aiming to protect both farmers and local companies from low prices and being taken advantage of from foreign companies conducting business in Tanzania,” said Minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga.
Mr Hasunga said the restriction does not contravene the East African Community Protocol on free movement of goods because the borders are still open.
“We have not and don’t have plans to restrict free movement of goods, but we have set guidelines to protect our farmers. Foreign traders can buy from a secondary market and pay all dues before they take the goods to their countries,” he told The EastAfrican.
The restriction on buying farm produce also aims to shield the country against a looming food deficiency due to floods that have hit several parts of Tanzania and a looming locust invasion, reports The East African.
With the on-going seasonal rains, Tanzania has been hit by flash floods for the first week of May. Floods were reported to hit key agricultural regions in Southern, Northern, Central and Western Tanzania with damages to households.
In addition to that the sector has also been affected by Covid-19 after major and strategic commercial crops such as coffee and tea suffered lower prices.
Minister for Industry and Trade Innocent Bashungwa said that Covid-19 prevention and restriction measures taken in key European, American and Asian markets have caused grounding of buyers of Tanzanian cash crops in key markets.
Tanzania targets to store 120,000 tonnes of cereals, mostly maize. The government has also instructed the National Food Reserve Authority (NFRA) to purchase food crops from farmers for storage.