3.5bn/- cashew nut inputs money ‘eaten’

The Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT) and Cashew Nut Industry Development Trust Fund (CIDTF) have failed to trace some 3.5bn/- spent on procurement of inputs in the 2012/13 financial year.

The CBT set aside over 7bn/- for procurement of cashew nut inputs in the fiscal year 2012/13, which included fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides, but only a half of that money reached the beneficiaries – the cashew nut farmers, according to Chairman of CIDTF, Mr Athuman Nkinde.

Responding to questions from journalists yesterday, Mr Nkinde said that since CIDTF didn’t have any concrete evidence with which to pin down the dealers who embezzled the said funds, it couldn’t track the expenditures on the bulk procurement amounting to billions of shillings.

“Due to this challenge that we faced in 2012/13 financial year, we have decided to change the modality of tendering for bulk procurement of cashew nut inputs, for we have noted that there is collusion between few dealers and farmers in the process of procurement of inputs,” Mr Nkinde said.

Regarding the effected changes in 2013/14, he said that while last year they had experienced problems because the tender for bulk procurement of powdered sulphur was awarded to a single supplier, Tanzania Fertilisers Company (TFC), this financial year the tender has been awarded to four suppliers.

“We have now decided to award four dealers to distribute 5,000 tonnes of powdered sulphur in addition to 3,000 tonnes which were left out in the last season,” he said.

For his part, the CBT director general Mfaume Juma said that, launched in April this year, the programme for distributing inputs the CBT released over Sh947 million for monitoring the exercise in all districts and regions that cultivate cashew plants.

“The CBT and CIDTF are well set to supervise procurement and distribution of inputs at national level while the regional secretariat and district councils have the responsibility of supervision at regional and district level. We will make sure that only farmers who have been earmarked will access inputs,” Mr Juma said.

He further said that they have formed a task force to track the expenditure of imported inputs worth Sh21.8 billion that were set for distribution in 2013/14.

“We have formed a special task force comprising the police, Prevention and combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), CBT, representatives of cashew nut farmers and members of Local Government Authorities of Tanzania and regional secretariats to oversee the utilisation of these funds,” he said.

Clarifying on the modality of distributing inputs, Executive Secretary of CIDTF Suleiman Lenga said the formula used is that the district which was leading in producing cashew nuts was getting the biggest amount of inputs, while the lesser producers got the lower amounts.

Mr Lenga said that until the first week of this month, over 3.5 million tonnes of powdered sulphur had already been distributed, while 7,231kg of Devisulphur and 7,002 litres of pesticides had been distributed. According to him, conflict of interest in the distribution of inputs to cashew nut farmers was set to end corruption and theft affecting distribution of pesticides and insecticides.

With regard to the quality of insecticides and fertilisers, Mr Nkinde said currently, the Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute in Mtwara Region was responsible for ensuring quality standards through provision of advisory services to the CBT.
Source:The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni in Dar es Salaam
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