Authorities in Ikungi District, Singida Region have spent over 120m/- to purchase green grams from small scale farmers.
Ikungi District Executive Director, Justice Kijazi told ward councilors here that auctions were Conducted through farmers’ cooperative unions.
He said farmers will be directly paid by their specific unions under the cooperative department. Kijazi said they have so far bought more than 40 tonnes of the crop. He said a decision to buy the green grams was meant to assist farmers who were previously struggling to access the market.
“We purchased the crop at 1,075/- per kilogram, the amount is almost double compared to prices that were offered by middlemen. We are determined to support green gram farmers by ensuring reliable markets as well as better prices,” he noted.
Ikungi District Commissioner, Edward Mpogolo said the crop can fetch up to 1,200/- per kilogram while middlemen were buying it at between 400 and 600 per kg.
“Farmers were previously not benefiting from their hard work, they were selling the crop at cheapest prices,” DC said.
One of the councillors, Halima Ng’imba applauded the government for offering better prices to farmers insisting payments should be done on time. She was concerned that despite assurance of a reliable market, farmers were waiting for long periods to get the monies from cooperative unions.
According to Ng’imba, most of the farmers live in remote rural areas where houses have been damaged by floods caused by the just ended rains, hence the need for money to repair them.
She said that following payment delays, some farmers resolved to sell the crops to middlemen to get quick money.
“These people need money to repair their houses and purchase various commodities, some have sold their green grams at a loss, only to get monies to meet their family demand,” he noted.
Ikungi District chairman, Ali Mwanga said the new purchasing system conducted through auctioning will enable government to collect enough taxes, urging authorities to apply similar methods to other crops such as sesame grams and cow peas.
“We now want all the crops to be sold through auctioning under farmers’ cooperative unions. This will ensure better prices and markets for the cash crops,” he said.