Trade unions and cooperatives buying Irish potatoes in Northern Province have been attacked for being responsible for fluctuation of prices and affecting the growing of Irish potatoes in general.
Cooperatives such as CECMA, tendered to buy the produce in the province, were accused of underrating the agriculture products in the rural community, levying illegal taxes to other cooperatives and monopolizing the market.
Minister of Commerce Protais Mitali, while meeting representatives of all the cooperatives and Irish potato growers from Eastern and Northern Province said that “confusion should end.”
“There must be an established structure which links a buyer to the farmer, and the law should be respected in the creation and functioning of the cooperatives,” Mitali said.
Some cooperatives have accused the ministry of issuing trade licenses to cooperatives to act as farming while at the same time trading in the crop.
Penelope Kantarama, Governor of Western Province said that competitions among trade cooperatives should be promoted in order to avoid monopoly of market.
Farmers complained that besides being given low prices, their products were taken on credit and paid after; hence they are not assured of the prices as it is always subject to change.
Joseph Gafaranga, a farmer from Nyabihu district, accuses the trade cooperatives for discouraging the farmers by pursuing their own interests irrespective of the conditions. Further comments could not be reached.