DAR ES SALAAM, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Finance and Planning to release 50 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 21.6 million U.S. dollars) to be paid to 18,000 cashew nuts farmers in Mtwara region whose documents have been verified, but were yet to receive their payments.
"The payments will be issued to the farmers whose documents have already been verified," said Magufuli on live broadcast of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.
The President's directive comes at a time when some of the farmers in the region who sold their produce to the government had been complaining of non-payment.
Initially, the government had pledged to issue the remaining payments to the farmers by March 31 but it failed to do so, on the grounds that it was still conducting the verification process.
Speaking at the start of a three-day official tour of Mtwara region, Magufuli said: "We could not issue the payments to the farmers without conducting the verification process. The process was aimed at ensuring that the money goes to the right persons and not the ghost farmers."
"We have managed to identify at least 780 persons who do not own cashew nut farms. They illegally bought the product from the farmers. But I have pardoned them," added the head of state.
The government has bought a total of 156,865 tonnes of cashew nuts worth 578.7 billion shillings from 373,149 farmers since the government took over the buying of the cash crop last year.