TANZANIA: Govt allows levy-free food imports

As food shortage continues to haunt several parts across the country, the government has allowed levy-free imports of 300,000 tonnes of maize in the next three months.

The decision was reached at a meeting between President Jakaya Kikwete and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives at the State House in Dar es Salaam last Monday. A statement issued yesterday said the government was optimistic the decision to allow levy-free imports of maize would play a decisive role to curb food shortages and escalating food prices which came as a result of the prolonged dry season.

The offer expires on May 31, this year. The meeting also resolved that the relevant authorities should first find a lasting solution to falling cotton prices in at least 11 regions, where growers face bleak prospects triggered by the current global economic recession.

The government also plans to increase the ministry's budget with effect from this financial year in order to enable it acquire sufficient resources as well as boost its activities across the country. The meeting also agreed that a special programme should be established in order to improve cassava and horticultural production in the country.

However, it was also resolved that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives needs to intensify efforts in conducting research to augment agricultural production and productivity. More efforts are also required to spearhead application of sophisticated agricultural equipment among the ordinary farmers in order to increase production and productivity.

President Jakaya Kikwete has in recent weeks been meeting officials from various government ministries and departments to ascertain their performance – before charting strategies for the way forward.

Daily News

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