The Tanzania Cashewnut Board (TCB) has initiated medium and long term plans which would enable the country to process most of the crop before export, hence increase income to farmers and the government.
Speaking in a telephone interview, the TCB Acting Director General Ayubu Mbawa said at the moment Tanzania exports only 20 percent of processed cashew nuts, denying it opportunity to earn more foreign exchange. The major buyer of the country’s cashew nut is India.
There are only three working plants located in Mtwara, Dar es Salaam and Newala which can process not more than 20,000 tonnes per year, he said.
He said one other challenge facing the industry currently is how to sell over 85,000 tonnes of raw cashew nuts worth over 100bn/-.
He said the 85,000 tonnes from the just-ended season remain in godowns due to lack of buyers, saying most of them placed less orders compared to the 2010 season.
Mbawa said during the 2010 season a buyer could purchase up to 5,000 tonnes of cashew nuts but in the 2011/12 season the same bought only 2,000 tonnes.
Price of a kilogramme of 1st grade of cashewnut is sold at 1200/- while the 2nd grade stood at 960/-.
He said the Board has already started plans to make sure that the cashew nuts still in godowns are sold in local or foreign markets.
“We intend to market our crop in foreign countries namely Far and Middle East, later this year,” he said.
According to TCB, last season Tanzania produced 157,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and it is likely more will be produced next season if farmers get paid their dues.