Why Magufuli is nuts about nuts

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Everyone has a level of petty in them but Tanzania’s President John Magufuli seems to have demonstrated a different level of petty. President Magufuli accused the cashew nut board of failing to manage the industry properly, leading to the low prices of the crop.

He also disbanded the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania and revoked the appointment of the board chair, Anna Abdallah and fired two ministers and in a row over the price of the commodity. Magufuli said his decision to so so was aimed at safeguarding farmers from unsustainable low prices.


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Minister of Agriculture Charles Tizeba and his trade counterpart Charles Mwijage were dropped from their posts on Saturday and Japhet Hasunga named as the new Agriculture minister while Joseph Kakunda will head the Trade and Investment ministry.

Cashew nuts are the most valuable export crops for Tanzania but the fall in prices have prompted Tanzanian farmers to halt sales, saying operational costs were higher than what was offered for the produce.


Cashew nut factory workers at a production line in Mtwara, Tanzania


The government has now asked cashew nut buyers to submit their purchasing plans. On Saturday, Magufuli visited a military unit and inspected 75 vehicles that will be used by the government to facilitate the purchasing of cashew nuts in the country should private buyers fail to take up the crop at the government prescribed price of 3,000 shillings ($1.31) per kilo.

President Magufuli said that the government would use the army and the board of mixed crops to purchase all cashew nuts at the price of more than 3,000 Shillings.

“If private buyers fail to respond to the government and tell us how many tonnes they will buy by Monday, the government will buy all cashew nuts, we have the money for it,” he said.


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Tanzanian farmers have complained that the prevailing price of 1,500 shillings per kilo does not even meet their cost of production. However, opposition leader Zitto Kabwe said that Magufuli should seek parliamentary approval before the government starts buying cashews from farmers.

“The government needs 600 billion Shillings to pay farmers. This money requires parliamentary approval,” Kabwe tweeted.


Do you think Magufuli was justified to fire both ministers?

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