By VALENTINE OFORO, DODOMA

CASSAVA farmers in the central zone production corridor have appealed to the government to consider the possibility of supplying them with COVID 19 response fund, saying the sub-sector has similarly been affected by the pandemic.

Speaking to East African Herald in a separate interview, the farmers observed that for at least two consecutive producing seasons they failed to export their produce to China due to the COVID 19, the major challenge which saw them experiencing untold financial loss.

“After being sensitized by the government to embark on serious cultivation in order to cater for China’s lucrative market most of the farmers invested millions of money on farms so as to benefit the same,”

” And thus, the eruption of COVID 19 saw us stranded at a cross dilemma because we’re in no position to export our crops,” said Idd Senge, a proprietor of at least 100 acres of cassava in Singida region.

He added,  patriotically, the government was supposed to inject them with the COVID 19 fund release so that they may rejuvenate their sides healthier.

For his part, Jafet Gabriel, another giant farmer said apart from COVID 19, last year their plantations and produce were seriously damaged by excessive rains.

” To be honest, for the two consecutive years we faced unfriendly production situation which compelled us to incur great financial loss,” he expressed.

In general, the farmers also expressed the plight of being sidelined by most of the country’s financial institutions as well as other agro companies.

“It’s very disconcerting to see that we have been denied capital loans even at the relevant institutions, specifically the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB), they lamented.

From the past three years, most of the farmers in all regions where cassava flourishes embarked on major plantations due to the vast and assured market of the tuber crop in China.

Annually, China demands at least 2million tons of dry cassava from Tanzania.

In May 2017, Tanzania signed a phytosanitary protocol with the people of the United Republic of China, the bilateral business development which apart from greenlighting local companies to directly trade with China, it also opened market access for dry cassava from Tanzania.

 

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