Shinyanga. Key cotton stakeholders are today meeting with Members of Parliament from cotton producing regions in a bid to lobby for the rejection of the Tanzania Cotton Board’s (TCB) decision to charge fee from companies that buy the crop.
The Cotton Farmers Association (CFA), cooperatives and the companies reached the decision at the weekend in Shinyanga during a meeting that discussed a TCB circular to cotton buying companies issued early this year.
The CFA chairman, Mr Elias Zizi, said recently in Shinyanga that they resolved to reject the TCB decision on the ground that it will hurt cotton farmers in the country.
He said the decision to involve MPs was reached in the association’s previous meeting so that their grievances can be presented in Parliament next month.The TCB distributed a circular instructing the companies to pay the board a Sh50 million fee for them to get the licence to purchase cotton from farmers.
According to the circular, with reference number TCB/REG/14 signed by the board’s director, Mr Michael Mutunga, a company that fails to pay the money will have automatically withdrawn from buying cotton this season for failure of acquiring a licence.
Mr Zizi said the circular demands that a company pays an equal and distinct amount to each area in which it will be buying the crop, something, which has been largely rejected by cotton stakeholders.
He said the TCB decision failed to consider cotton farmers’ interest because should the companies agree to pay the money, it would be the cotton farmers who would bear the burden.
“This would force agents to buy cotton at a lower price in order to compensate the money they paid, in turn farmers would be the losers,” he said.Mr Zizi noted that apart from the farmers, most of the companies and cooperatives would not be able to meet the cost because they buy cotton from more than one area.
According to Mr Zizi, some companies buy cotton in up to eight different areas and “With the TCB’s circular it means such companies and cooperatives will have to pay up to Sh400 million.”